When the “burning platform” memo went out it was clear that Nokia needed to change and do something big to turn their fortunes around. All the options that were brought to table were new OS’s. (MeeGo, Android and Windows Phone) The question remains why? What if there was a way that Nokia could have kept Symbian and even expanded it’s base while making huge profits? Well there was another Symbian saving option that no one ever even discussed. This option would be making Symbian available to all handset manufacturers for free! If this card would have been played right and early enough Symbian could have been saved. Let me show you.
In the 2nd qtr of 2010 according to Gartner Symbian still had a whopping 40.9% of total worldwide smartphone sales with Android in a distant second with at 17.2%. In that time frame Nokia was starting to realize they had an issue and it would have been the perfect time to go from simply a hardware manufacturer to a OS’s provider and hardware manufacture.
If this was done right Nokia could have used Symbian and beat Google at it’s own game…I mean clearly Symbian was (and still is) the more complete OS, it had a larger demand, installed base, and brand recognition worldwide. If both Symbian and Android were free to use back in 2010 manufactures of handsets clearly would have gone with Symbian hands down over Android for the above stated reasons.
I know what you are thinking why would Nokia do this? Isn’t it simply cheaper to let someone else make the OS and pour all your resources into making great hardware? Yes, yes it is however Nokia is currently developing software that they are pushing to other manufacturers for ad revenue. (For example Here Maps) Just think of all the revenue that Nokia would have made alone if every Android device out there right now had the Here Maps suite as it’s default navigation app. The ad profit would be HUGE!
Not only would Nokia make money off of maps, but also search engine providers would have given them of cut of their mobile ad revenue simply for the privilege of being on Symbian devices. (Just like Apple is getting from Google right now.) Nokia would have made money hand over fist in the Ovi Store selling apps, music, movies, books etc…
What would have been the cost to Nokia? Not a lot…they still could have shut down all the MeeGo development, laid off employees, moved all their manufacturing operations (cutting costs all around just like they are doing now) and still focus on Symbian to bring it up to date quicker. The Symbian Donna update (Symbian Belle FP2) could have been out years earlier with this move.
I know at this point everything I have written above is water under the bridge and it’s way to late now however….If Nokia would have played this right they would have been Google right now, Android would have 10% of the world market share and Windows Phone would have almost have died off by now. (FYI Nokia saved Windows Phone) Think about it the Nokia 808 wouldn’t have been Symbian’s swan song it would have been a bigger screened, dual cored, premium must have device running the world’s largest and most loved OS.
But sadly this not true and this post is me simply sharing my thoughts on the one option that could have saved Symbian that no one seemed to talk about ever. Let me know what you think about “my Symbian plan” in the comments or you can simply send me a tweet about it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.