Stephen Elop, the former head of Microsoft's Business Division, now in control of Nokia is sending out confusing messages. Before we go there let's see how is he performing. Under his leadership Nokia has not only lost more market shares but also distanced itself from the loyal developers and users owing to shutdown of core open source projects and close ties with Microsoft.
To many observers these ties seems to help Microsoft more to get free ride on Nokia hardware, than to help Nokia improve its market situation. Winrumors published a story titled: 'Nokia employees still worried that Elop is a Microsoft mole.'
The latest statement by Elop, which is a dig on Android, is only going to hurt Microsoft and Nokia in both long and short term.
Elop said in a statement:
In terms of (Windows Phone) doesn’t allow for the Sense UI or whatever, I would suggest that one of the biggest challenges facing that particular ecosystem is the fact that there is more and more of that going on. And when I go into the store and look at what that brand was supposed to stand for, I’m not quite seeing it — it’s just unclear what the standard is for the user experience."
Here is the video of Elop
What Elop implies is that the freedom Android gives to partners to tweak the UI is only going to damage it. Let's analyze.
Why do partners want customized UI?
Every player wants to differentiate itself from the competitors by adding value to Android experience. It also gives users more options -- if you don't like Sense, you can go for TouchWiz. Just the way if you don't like red you can go for green. Elop wants everyone to wear white?
How is diversity bad?
So, what Elop mean here is that every smartphone in the market must have the same UI? Does it work that way in the mature and successful markets? Look at cars, they all have different dashboards and designs, let's look at PCs and laptops, they all look different. In fact if you look at Nokia's bulky hardware they all look different too? So, how much 'sense' it makes to criticized the very advantage of Android (or the industry) standard just because Nokia won't be able to do it?
Is Elop frustrated that while Samsung offers TouchWiz as a standard UI, HTC offers Sense and Motorola offers MotoBlur, Nokia will stuck with the same Windows Phone UI common among all Windows phones?
I wonder if Samsung, HTC do offer Windows phones (due to the deals Microsoft forced then to sign over controversial patent issues) how will Nokia be able to differentiate their phones?
Standard for UI?
Elop also pointed that Android is missing the standard UI. I alwasys believed that what is used widely becomes a standard. Is Nokia (the company which is losing the mobile market share) going to define the 'standard'? Or Microsoft which got OOXML approved by controversial means as an ISO standard going to define the standard UI for mobile phones when its own market share in the mobile market is shrinking?
Android is THE standard
The core 'standard' which we should talk about is the ability to install apps on the phone and to be able have more or less similar functionality. Every TV set has its own menus and UI but what is standard is TV programs. Why is the same approach wrong for mobile devices? Just because Nokia can't do it?
There is almost no doubt about the 'standardization' on Android phones. All you have to do it go to the Android Market app! You get to open websites using same browser, play music with the same Google Music app, you read book on the same Kindle App, you watch movies on the same Netflix app? Isn't that standard Mr Elop?
Elop means Windows phones are not for partners
What Mr Elop also implies is that the so-called 'forced' partners such as HTC and Samsung will not be able to customize their Windows phones to differentiate them from Nokia's phones.
If no customization is the road Windows Phones are going to take it is a lose-lose game for partners as they will not be able to offer any value add on top of the 'cold' platform. A user will walk into a store and will see tin boxes, which look same.
The lack of customization will keep partners from trying Windows phones, other than releasing a few phones they are obliged to due to the deals they had to sign with Microsoft.
Nokia should have gone with Android
Nokia seems to have committed suicide by ditching the hottest platform Android.
Look at HTC and Samsung, which have become the 'leading' players in the mobile space only due to Android. Motorola is another example of a company which raise from Ashes only due to Android.
I feel Nokia is making a huge mistake by putting all its eggs in a failing platform. If Nokia wants to survive it must go with the most successful platform, which is Android, and not the failed one.