In the darker corners of my paranoid mind, I’ve always mused about the possibility that Microsoft sent its former executive Stephen Elop to intentionally sabotage Nokia so that its share price would crash, thus making it easy for Microsoft to buy it on the cheap. While this is admittedly a delusional conspiracy theory, I think it could gain at least a little legitimacy if Nokia really does go forward with its rumored plan to release a high-end tablet based on Windows RT.
There are several reasons why releasing a high-end Surface-like tablet would be a huge mistake but the biggest one is that Apple is the only company that has really had success selling tablets in the $500 range. Just think of all the failed $500-plus tablets that companies have launched over the past few years, from the Motorola Xoom to the BlackBerry PlayBook to the HP TouchPad to, yes, Microsoft’s own Surface RT. The only way that new market entrants have made a dent in Apple’s once-dominant tablet market share has been by releasing cheaper, smaller tablets that sell in the $200 to $300 range.
Another reason why a Nokia Surface clone would be a bad idea is that Nokia has reportedly decided to use Windows RT instead of Windows 8 as the operating system. Microsoft won’t admit it, but Windows RT is a dead platform walking that consumers have avoided and that vendors such as Acer, Asus and HTC have all been fleeing. Even though Microsoft is likely to stick it out with RT for a good long while, eventually the company will probably have to concede that it’s simply not an attractive proposition to consumers.
I’m giving Nokia this advice because I don’t want to see the company fall into the same downward spiral that Motorola, HP and BlackBerry all fell into after they wasted time and resources building expensive tablets that no one wanted to buy. I’ve long been a fan of Nokia’s smartphone designs and I think the company has a lot to contribute to the smartphone market. Just look at the amazing engineering behind the Lumia 1020’s camera, for instance, and you can see this is a company that still has a ton of talent and innovative ideas.
But Nokia should stay away from any plans of building a costly Windows RT tablet. Going through with such a scheme would truly put Nokia on the road to hell.