Microsoft and Nokia’s recent partnership created huge waves across the smartphone industry last week. With both Nokia and Microsoft struggling to hang onto whatever vestiges of relevancy they once boasted in the smartphone marketplace, the marriage between Redmond and Finland was one of necessity and we’ll see soon enough how the relationship pans out.
But the decision to hop on board with Microsoft may not have been as clear cut a decision as some might believe – especially due to the fact that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was formerly a Microsoft executive. But with the news of the deal now a few days behind us, word is starting to leak out that Nokia was also in talks with Google regarding a potential deal to adopt Google’s Android OS.
During a discussion with reporters at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Google would have loved for Nokia to choose Android instead of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS and that the company remains hopeful that Nokia’s sleek hardware will someday run Android.
Schmidt explained that both he and Android guru Andy Rubin engaged in discussions with Nokia over such a deal, but didn’t specify how close the two companies actually came to a deal. In the end, the Windows Phone 7 decision may simply have come down to money, with reports suggesting that Microsoft will pay Nokia billions for choosing their homegrown OS.
In the wake of the Microsoft/Nokia deal, Elop explained that “an alliance with Google felt like giving up, not like fighting back.” In contrast, Elop feels that the new Microsoft/Nokia initiative makes the smartphone war a three man race among Apple, Google, and now, Nokia.