Nokia and Microsoft, sitting in a tree

It came as no surprise to me that Nokia announced their partnership with Microsoft today — going with what they perceive as a competitor (Android) was never going to be a viable option for them. Consequently NOK stock slipped 10% in pre-market trading this morning. I wonder just how far they would have fallen had they stayed with Symbian, a commitment been made to MeeGo or had they actually plumped for Android. Joining forces with another company that hasn’t exactly had the best track record in terms of mobile OS development or vision of where markets are heading seems like destiny.

People have known for several months that Nokia had severe troubles and that things needed to be done in terms of a change in both culture and technology if the company was to remain relevant. Step forward John Gruber.

From my sporadic trials with their software I have always disliked the entire Nokia user experience. Admittedly — and maybe somewhat surprisingly — I was a late adopter of mobile phone technology. My first phone was a gift from my best friend who was sick of not being able to get hold of me. It was an Ericcson Brick™ that he received for reaching his sales targets but I quite liked how it operated and I quickly got used to the system.

When Sony partnered with Ericsson back in October 2001 their designs clearly moved forward with each iteration. At around the same time, one of my university friends was working at Nokia and would often regale me with tales of the fantastically brilliant phones that were in development. I don’t know what happened to those phones.

Long story short: Nokia have been slow to react and have lost years in the wilderness, seemingly focussed on quirky case design and keyboard layouts for far too long.

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