Stephen Elop expected to announce alliance with Microsoft next week in London
The future of MeeGo looks bleak today, but the Nokia's future looks uncommonly bright. There's been suspicion of a switch to the Windows Phone 7 platform for a few weeks now. This came to a head when Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank wrote an open letter to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop urging him to drop MeeGo and ally with Microsoft.
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In Q4 2009, Nokia held 40% of the global smartphone market. In Q4 2010, they held only 31%. Profit declined 21% year over year as well. No matter how Nokia tries to paint their quarters and brag over their feature phone dominance, the sad fact is that the Finnish company suffers from a distinct lack of smartphones with any sort of global popularity.
So you can see why Adnaan's note excited some investors. Microsoft's WP7 platform is legitimately pleasant to use. It has a healthy (and growing) app ecosystem and early sales that are promising. Although not overwhelming. Meanwhile, Nokia has a proprietary OS that is kind of cool but wildly late to the party. Although a MeeGo smartphone and tablet are expected to hit MWC, neither of those devices have raised confidence in Nokia 2011.
But the suspicion of a possible alliance with Microsoft has been enough to boost Nokia shares by 4% this week. No spokesperson at either company has commented yet, but some analysts expect a February 11 announcement from Mr. Elop. The Nokia CEO stated in late January that his company was open to "create and/or join other ecosystems".
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We'll see just how open next week, right ahead of the Mobile World Congress.