By Seth Weintraub
September 21, 2010

I get the comparison – ‘a short-term solution, but a long-term headache’ – but Scandinavian euphemisms don’t translate  easily to English.

That’s right.  When you are an outgoing EVP you can say what you really feel and don’t have to run your statements through an army of global, culturally-aware PR people.

Nokia’s (NOK) soon to be ex-EVP Anssi Vanjoki told the Financial Times that it wouldn’t be prudent, long term, to go to Google’s (GOOG) Android platform.  While the initial warmth (ahem) of having a complete, modern OS would be nice initially, in the long term, they’d be relegated to the (errr) cold reality of being exclusively a hardware maker like Motorola (MOT), Samsung and HTC.

To put it another way, losing control of their software destiny and relying on Android as the universal OS may lead to “permanently low profitability” with users failing to distinguish between different brands if they all offer the same experience.

That doesn’t mean incoming CEO Stephen Elop feels the same way. Elop comes from Microsoft (MSFT) and partnered with Nokia while at his previous gig.  The software sharing mantra may be what Nokia’s board had in mind when they brought in the Canadian to run the world’s largest mobile phone maker.  It will be interesting to see if Elop continues to try to build a future with Nokia’s Symbian and Meego OSes or outsources Nokia’s phone OS to Android or Windows Mobile 7.

He could even bring in old friends and ex-Microsofties J. Allard and Robbie Bach who had a few phone OS designs of their own, but didn’t win over Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer.

An interesting note: Palm, while transitioning to its webOS, used rival Windows Mobile in its Pre smartphones for a few years — to the surprise of many.  Its older OS simply wasn’t viable and webOS was years from being ready so they made the tough choice of licensing Windows.  While it obviously didn’t win the long term battle for Palm,  which eventually got sucked up by HP (HPQ), the strategy did sell handsets and did stave off obsolescence for a few years.

Nokia is currently in a far better place than Palm was, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Nokia Android/Windows Phone 7 series devices roll off the assembly line in the next year.


Updated: Title of Vanjoki

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