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Nokia Had an Android Phone In Development 189

Posted by timothy
from the backup-plan dept.
puddingebola writes "Perhaps influencing Microsoft's $7.2 billion acquisition, the New York Times is reporting that Nokia had an Android phone in development. From the article, 'A team within Nokia had Android up and running on the company's Lumia handsets well before Microsoft and Nokia began negotiating Microsoft's $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone and services business, according to two people briefed on the effort who declined to be identified because the project was confidential. Microsoft executives were aware of the existence of the project, these people said.' Perhaps Nokia feared they had put too many eggs in one basket? Whatever the case, the project is most likely dead at this point."
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Nokia Had an Android Phone In Development

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  • Wasted opportunity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @12:54AM (#44846709) Homepage Journal
    Think of all the embracing, extending, and extinguishing they could've attempted! Probably not a good business decision, in retrospect. I bet MS's phone market share would've looked a lot better if they'd developed a super-fancy Exchange-oriented business email client for a line of custom Android phones rather than developing WP8.
  • Pricing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1984 (56406) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:08AM (#44846767)

    I was actually more fascinated that the once-pioneer and market leader in mobile phones (outside the US) was being sold off for more than $1Bn less than the sloppy-thirds of Skype which is widely duplicated by free services.

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:12AM (#44846791)

    in the acquisition? Exactly fuck all. Really, do you think Microsoft would pay $7.5 just to avoid yet another Android also-ran competitor?

  • by flayzernax (1060680) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:16AM (#44846807)

    They did this to Shadowrun the FPS when it was actually a good game. They didn't want it competing with other products and discontinued it, refused to update, or release content, and patch it.

    M$ is the grim reaper of IP.

  • Re:Nokia is volume (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:39AM (#44846895) Journal

    My prediction is that Microsoft will almost give away phones when they own Nokia's handset business. Micorsoft realizes that they are in danger of an entire generation learning that they don't need a PC running Windows and that this is complete disaster for Microsoft in the making.

    How much money has Microsoft dumped into Xbox over the years? I suspect that those billions will pale into insignificance in comparison to Microsoft's plans for Windows Phone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:44AM (#44846913)

    I doubt they would have been concerned about Nokia as an Android competitor - but they would have been very, very worried about losing their partnership with the maker of 80% of the Windows phones sold. Nokia is the only thing that is currently letting Microsoft believe that it has any chance at all with phones.

    Windows already has fuck-all share of the smartphone market - reducing that to only 20% of fuck-all would just be humiliating.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:53AM (#44846933) Homepage

    Now of course with M$ ownership, they are right in the line of fire for a very, very expensive class actions law suit. Especially if they already used a majority ownership to implement decisions that favoured themselves at the expense of minority share holders (note this is illegal). So will M$ get screwed over in court for killing Android on Nokia, especially when it get's in some cases patent royalties equal to or greater than what it charges for windows phone OS licences.

    I'll bet there are already a bunch of lawyers salivating at the chance to drag M$ and Nokia into court to recover billions in losses to shareholders. Then could come Nokai employee civil action suits for career losses as a result of manipulation of Nokia management decision to favour M$. Always remember there is a huge monumental difference between majority ownership and total ownership in a public company and the resultant impact upon remaining share holders and even employees. When the fraudulent actor in the future of Nokia has such deep pockets as M$ to target and remembering that the class action suit will occur in a region now becoming very hostile to M$ due to those losses, the class action law suit become very desirable.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday September 14, 2013 @01:54AM (#44846945) Journal
    Without Nokia Windows Phone's global market share drops to 0.6 from 3.0. So... about $3B per point of market share. Otherwise they disappear in the noise of "other". There wasn't anywhere else they could get those points so cheap. They will probably scoop up Blackberry's customers too. They really have no choice. Smartphones and tablets will be more that 80% of clients sold next quarter, trending up. Next quarter will be the last quarter that traditional PCs outsell tablets, and people get tablets that are like their smartphone and work well with it, not one that works well with and like their PC. If people keep getting invested in phone and tablet apps on platforms that are not theirs, they are done for. Frankly I think it is too late, but to them they have no choice but to try.
  • I am so sick of this "magical thinking" when it comes to Android. There is something like a dozen making Android phones, how many of those have been consistently profitable with Android? ONE, and that is Samsung. HTC and LG have made profits, not consistently mind you, and with LG their profits on a lot of phones can be measured in pennies.

    Like it or not folks, and this is coming from somebody that uses an Android phone that I'm quite happy with, with Android you have a race to the bottom where the VAST majority of Android sales in the under $185 price range and this market, the ultra low end? is a market that Nokia could NEVER compete in, okay? They were already WAAAY behind on smartphones thanks to all the infighting and not one, not two, but THREE OS teams backstabbing and playing politics, the ONLY market they had a lead in was dumbphones and that market was dead at the end of 2010 with the mediatek SoC that allowed Chinese shops to make a nice dumbphone for just $3 USD. They also had beancounters insisting on "getting their money's worth" from the TI OMAP chip they had bought the rights for, but that thing was too far behind the curve to make a decent Android phone with and the high cost of the Nokia factories meant they would have to sell them at a price point the market would never go for.

    So can we please please PLEASE stop the "Android is magic" bullshit already? When it comes to smartphones honestly the cost or lack thereof of the OS isn't even a real concern and thanks to anybody being able to build Android devices its a race to the bottom and in fact reminds me an awful lot of the "PC Price Wars" that drove many an OEM out of business, and finally Nokia was fucked with a capital F long before then, a toxic corporate culture, too much infighting and too much politics had turned the company into the biggest 8 track player builder in a landscape of CDs. Android isn't some fairy Godmother, it isn't "if you build it they will come" because if that were so there wouldn't be so many struggling Android manufacturers. It wouldn't have mattered by that point if they used windows, Linux, or WebOS, the company was too far behind and too badly fucked by PHBs to ever take on Samsung and the ONLY way for Nokia to survive as an Android maker would have been to curbstomp Samsung as their costs were too high. How many here honestly and truly believe that Nokia could have taken on Samsung at the top and not been bitchslapped?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @03:55AM (#44847223) Journal
    Nokia had the best reception of any cell phone company (at least, that was their reputation). They made nice hardware. Apparently they have the best camera of any cell phone.

    Given all that, they could have competed. Not because Android is magic, but because WP8 counteracts any benefit their phones ever had. Buy an Android with an amazing camera? Sure! Buy WP8 with an amazing camera? Does it even have a fart app?
  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @03:59AM (#44847235) Homepage Journal
    Personally I'm a little sceptical about the "last quarter" part. The tablet market isn't saturated like the PC market is, making it an unfair comparison. And since a PC is still more essential to most households (and laptops can be price-competitive with tablets), it's inevitably going to be the preferred thing to upgrade in the long term for those who can't afford both pieces of hardware. It seems much more likely that the demand for tablets will eventually decline once the market's more mature, and stay in the shadow of the PC until the content creation situation changes, especially with cannibalization by so-called "phablets [wikipedia.org]."
  • by boysenberry (2029114) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @05:08AM (#44847439)
    Nokia WAS fucked mainly cause its managed by morons, and Android certainly isn't magic, so I'm with you there. But it's a little more nuanced than you depict. A Lumia with Android would not have been a magic bullet, but it would have been, and still would be, one of the top 5 sexiest android phones. It would be looking super sexy on that shelf right alongside the S4s and HTC One's, but with WP, it's in a corner of the shop that only lost children end up in. A few tangential points: 1) There's nothing particularly unique about Nokia's PHB problem. Almost every large company suffers with these issues. Nokia may have been particularly bad, but they still manage to make beautiful phones at competitive prices. 2) At the time they chose WP, Samsung was nowhere near the market leader it is now. HTC was a pretty big deal at the time while the best that Samsung had out there was the S2. The "only samsung is making it and everyone else is drowning" is bs. The top dog can fall off his perch in a single year. The S2 situation was barely two years ago and you can kind of pinpoint Samsung's "mindshare dominance" starting at the S3: only slightly over a year ago! If you look at Xiaomi, the HTC One, Moto X, etc, you start to see that the gap between top dog and the runner-ups is miniscule. 3) There STILL is no "Apple of the android market". I mean there is no Android manufacturer who has taken the route of making superbly beautiful phones with no compromises. Top dog Samsung's phones are nowhere near as beautiful or high quality as the Lumias or iPhones. The few phones where it looks like any effort was made in design tend to be pretty much clones (like HTC One = BBX).
  • by sharklasers (3047537) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @05:27AM (#44847475)

    You're correct that Samsung is the only company that consistently makes a profit with Android. But... it doesn't make any business sense to exclusively focus your entire phone business on a single mobile platform (Windows Phone) that hasn't shown to be particularly popular or profitable to anyone, without having say Android phones as something to fall back on if the gamble doesn't pay off. That to me screams ulterior motives.

    Nokia didn't even TRY (as in, never actually put to market an Android phone, not including anything in R&D). If they put in a high-end Android phone with Lumia quality hardware, I'd very, very seriously consider it instead of Samsung. But they didn't fucking try because their ex-Microsoft boss had other ideas. And that's what's so annoying about this business. People using politics instead of common sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 14, 2013 @06:30AM (#44847653)

    and selling Lumia's at a loss was not a race to the bottom? you got to be kidding.

  • by Peter H.S. (38077) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @06:54AM (#44847731) Homepage

    Nokia could have had excellent success with an Android phone. Unlike the many upcoming phone makers you see today, Nokia had a huge market share with lots of loyal costumers who always chose Nokia phones when they needed a replacement phone. Nokia was a premium brand among consumers.

    By not making a Android phone, all their loyal costumers were forced to go elsewhere. For years, 9 out of 10 Nokia costumers have chosen another brand of smartphone when they needed a new phone.
    If Nokia could have kept most of those costumers with a Android phone, they would be dominating the market this day, and they would have kept the up coming competitors down, in stead of just handing over the smartphone market to them without a fight.

  • by kthreadd (1558445) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @07:31AM (#44847835)

    What you are descibing is essentially regular drivers. It's exactly the same thing that regular computer operating systems uses. The camera is not in any way built for Windows, it just happens that it require a driver and that driver is available for Windows Phone. With the appropriate driver the same camera should work in any operating system.

  • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Saturday September 14, 2013 @07:39AM (#44847857)

    I doubt they would have been concerned about Nokia as an Android competitor - but they would have been very, very worried about losing their partnership with the maker of 80% of the Windows phones sold.

    I suspect it's a bit of both. Losing market share would be really bad, but just as bad would be if their Windows Phone poster child Nokia did really well with an Android phone (and I can't see why they couldn't... they do good hardware) to the point that they no longer needed Microsoft propping them up financially. It would send one hell of a message to other mobile manufacturers... namely, "not worth the bother".

    That perception matters a lot. Technology-wise, I doubt Windows Phone is that bad (I haven't seen one, myself). But the market thinks it's tainted, and that's what's killing it as much as anything else.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @08:33AM (#44848017) Homepage

    Like it or not folks, and this is coming from somebody that uses an Android phone that I'm quite happy with, with Android you have a race to the bottom where the VAST majority of Android sales in the under $185 price range and this market, the ultra low end? is a market that Nokia could NEVER compete in, okay?

    I find it very strange that you argue that Nokia couldn't sell cheap phones when that was what they're best at. Nokia wasn't exactly the Ferrari of the cell phone world, they built boring solid cheap phones that the first world found dull and emerging markets gobbled up. Take those hardware skills, massive economics of scale, brand and sales network, build a cheap Android phone and they'd be giving Samsung a run for their money instead of maybe soon clawing their way back to second tier.

    If there's a race to the bottom, you can either get in or get out but if you stand around thinking your customers will be happy to pay a huge premium for your product then 95% of the time you're wrong. For example just look at all the expensive solutions that have been replaced by cheap x86 desktops and servers. If you can take a cheap SoC from China, slap a $0 version of Android on it, put it in a phone chassis and sell it then that's what it is worth today, what that was worth yesterday doesn't matter.

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