Yesterday I spotted a chart on another blog showing what would have happened had Nokia chosen to go with Google Android. If you simple converted Nokia marketshare to Android, Android starts to dominate the way Microsoft Windows dominated in the 1990s. If you read my earlier post about it being game over in Smartphones that is pretty much what I predicted the outcome of the Smartphone war would be. Of course that’s exactly the scenario that caused Nokia and the other mobile phone manufacturers to partner in creating Symbian. Back in 2001 they didn’t want Microsoft to gain the same dominance on phones that they had on PCs. Now in 2011 Nokia doesn’t want Google to gain that equivalent level of dominance on phones.
From Microsoft’s perspective they probably viewed Nokia partnering with Google as an existential threat, at least in the non-PC device space. As a result I suspect Elop was able to get Nokia an awesome deal, both financially and in terms of influence over the Windows Phone platform.
Overall the Nokia/Microsoft deal probably means that we are on path for there to be three viable mobile operating systems. It is unlikely that any one vendor can dominate the way Microsoft dominated the PC market. And this increases the power of the phone manufacturers and carriers. Which is exactly what they wanted.
Nokia has probably ensured Microsoft’s success in Smartphones. And it may have ensured Microsoft success in Search (which is increasingly about Mobile Search). But Microsoft will likely never have the power in either space that it enjoys in PCs.