Elop: Nokia Didnt Want to Give In to Android

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has said that his company chose to partner with Microsoft because it didnt want to “give in” to the surge towards Android. 

Speaking at the Uplinq 2011 show in San Diego, Elop sought to explain Nokias decision to enter into a partnership with Microsoft, and said that Nokia wanted to be able to differentiate from the crowded Android market. 

“Our final assessment was that we had a big concern that we would not be able to differentiate on the Android platform,” he said. 

“Theres also a bit of an attitudinal point. Jumping into Android pool felt a little bit like giving in. And Nokia is a company that has a strong history of going through significant disruptions, making changes and leading again. Theres a strong attitude in the company that you dont give in, you fight hard. Android was a viable option, but wasnt really compelling us.”

Elop conceded that partnering with Google could have been a faster track to turning Nokias fortunes around. “With Google we believed that we would be joining an ecosystem which is on a winning trajectory – its growing very quickly. We also felt that very quickly we could re-enter the United States market with force – an area that has been very difficult for us using Symbian.”

But in a mobile landscape where the focus has shifted from devices to ecosystems, Elop sees an opportunity for the company to define its own ecosystem, with Microsoft. Interestingly he called it the “third ecosystem”, naming Android and iOS as the other two – excluding the likes of BlackBerry entirely. 

Elop went on to say that Nokias strengths lie in construction of hardware and supporting technologies, while Micosoft “had something to contribute” in terms of operating system. “In many respects, we had much of what they needed, and they had much of what we needed,” he said. “But it goes beyond that in terms of ecosystems, it goes to search and advertising and entertainment. Productivity services. We have mapping and navigation services, so theres a lot of complimentary elements that when we brought the two companies together in a partnership, we could say wow, all of this could define that third ecosystem.”

Elops presentation appeared to go down well with Uplinq delegates, as he joked that just a few years ago the relationship between Qualcomm – Uplinqs parent company – and Nokia was somewhat litigious. He also credited Apple with creating Android, because the closed nature of iOS created a “vaccuum” that Google filled.