Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been on stage tonight at a Mobile World Congress press conference talking about Nokia’s future relationship with Microsoft. Various blogs have been live blogging (here’s a post from Engadget). But sitting back and listening to Elop’s explanation about how Symbian devices will still be shipped and a Meego device, due to ship this year, will be used for experimentation and “disruption”, one has to ask the simple question: Where are the apps?
While the first MeeGo product will ship this year with a Qt framework, Qt is unlikely to go onto Nokia’s Windows Phone, thus killing off all those developers who studied Qt. “If we encourage a fork in Windows Phone’s development platform, we could create a situation where we confuse developers and consumers,” said Elop tonight in Barcelona. Bang goes that talent base, then.
So the Nokia content environment will be within the Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft brings that, while Nokia brings the carrier billing relationships around the world. Whoop!
But again – where are the apps? Where is the eco-system? The simple answer is it’s now a Windows Phone eco-system. While admittedly the Symbian apps eco-system deserved to be killed off, the Meego eco-system had not even started. And Nokia still wants developer to create apps for Meego? Is he kidding?
The simple answer is that there is no longer any point in developing for Nokia unless the apps are Windows Phone apps. All fine and dandy – but this insistence that Symbian and Meego will remain part of Nokia’s strategy is laughable. With no mass adoption of Meego devices (because the future of those handsets looks shaky at best) and Symbian dead in the water, there is no incentive for developers, so there will be new apps to go on these devices, pure and simple.
And with the entire eco-system controlled by Microsoft there is little point in startups and developers paying any more attention to Nokia, beyond what hardware they bring out that might enhance a Windows Mobile app – which will of course run on other Windows devices anyway. Thus Nokia joins Samsung, Sony Ericsson etc as mainly devices makers but little else.
I would be happy to be proved wrong in the comments, but that’s how it looks right now.