Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said he would be calling Google to express concern over the Motorola deal if his company backed Android, leaving other phone makers to question their future with the platform.
Elop said it is important, now more than ever, that Microsoft’s Windows Phone be a third ecosystem to keep the smartphone business competitive.
Elop’s comments back up similar claims made by Microsoft just a day earlier. Windows Phone division president Andy Lees said Microsoft now offers the only truly open mobile ecosystem in the tech industry and for consumers. Lees said he feels Windows Phone is completely equal-opportunity for all the company’s manufacturing partners.
Given Microsoft and Nokia’s statements, it’s unlikely they’d say anything positive about the effects of the Google and Motorola deal. But the companies’ comments may hold some truth as some industry analysts also share Elop’s opinion.
“The likes of Samsung, HTC and LG obviously don’t have any other choice than to say at this point that they welcome the deal,” said intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller. “But there’s no way that they can compete with a Google-owned Motorola Mobility on a level playing field.”
There is no sign these manufacturers will suddenly stop making Android phones, but Google’s Motorola purchase may give them added incentive to pour more resources into the Windows Phone platform.
Until now, other manufacturers have not had to worry about developing for anything other than Android. HTC is thriving mostly because it has dedicated itself solely to the Android platform, while Samsung has seen record sales of its Android-powered Galaxy phones.
But if these companies feel their success may soon be threatened by the Motorola deal, they may try to duplicate it with the Windows platform, especially if Google transforms from a software partner to a rival.
Google insists it intends to run Motorola Mobility as a separate entity, and says the purchase won’t affect other Android phone makers. However, if Nokia and analysts’ predictions are correct, no one may stand to benefit more from the Google’s Motorola deal than Microsoft.
Microsoft had a microscopic 1.6 per cent share of the smartphone market at the end of the second quarter, compared to Android’s 43 per cent. But if manufacturers place less focus on and Android and more on Windows Phone, Microsoft may close the gap quickly.