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Elop finally admits why Nokia didn’t switch to Android: Samsung scared him away

Published Jul 18th, 2013 11:05AM EDT
Nokia Android

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Every single time Nokia unveils a new smartphone or reports numbers of any kind, a familiar question is raised: What if Nokia had switched to Android instead of Windows Phone? What if? This was a fun game to play for a few months after Nokia first announced it would dump Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Microsoft’s mobile platform, but now that ship has sailed. Revisiting that tired old question repeatedly is indeed typically boring, but it turns out that doing so for the umpteenth time finally got us a candid explanation straight from the horse’s mouth of exactly why Nokia opted for Windows Phone over the world’s top smartphone platform.

In a recent interview, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop finally admitted the real reason that Nokia decided against a switch from Symbian and MeeGo to Android as its platform burned: Samsung.

“I’m very happy with the decision we made,” Elop told The Guardian. “What we were worried about a couple of years ago was the very high risk that one hardware manufacturer could come to dominate Android. We had a suspicion of who it might be, because of the resources available, the vertical integration, and we were respectful of the fact that we were quite late in making that decision. Many others were in that space already.”

He continued, “Now fast forward to today and examine the Android ecosystem, and there’s a lot of good devices from many different companies, but one company has essentially now become the dominant player.”

Nokia has struggled with Windows Phone to date — Nokia just posted another loss as smartphone ASPs came crashing down — but at least the competition from Samsung that Elop was so worried about isn’t present in Microsoft’s mobile ecosystem; Samsung has a few Windows Phones in its portfolio, but the company doesn’t really seem to care whether or not anyone actually buys them.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.