On February 8, Endgadget published a memo that was sent from Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop to all of Nokia’s employees. In this “Burning Platform” memo, Elop sets the stage for the announcement he’ll be making on February 11th, 2011, about Nokia’s shift in strategy. I believe that Nokia will jump into the arms of Microsoft (Elop’s most recent former employer) and that this was probably in the wind when he was recruited from Microsoft’s Office division to become Nokia’s president and CEO in September 2010.
Microsoft badly needs a strong mobile device partner to make Windows Phone 7 viable. Since October 2010, Windows Phone 7 has been available on phones from Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung from 60 carriers in 30 countries. But all of these phone providers also support Google’s Android OS. It may be that Nokia will espouse the Microsoft OS and eschew Google’s Android. Nokia may well walk away from its own software technology to become a Microsoft-only phone supplier. In order to do something this radical, Elop has to convince his Nokia employees to throw away their own intellectual property and to follow his lead into Microsoft’s arms. Hence his already famous “Burning Platform” memo.
What interests me about this move by Nokia is not just the likely Microsoft/Nokia alliance, but the assumption that Elop makes that, in order to be successful in mobile phones, you have to be part of a winning ecosystem.