The announcement of a Microkia partnership shook the twitterverse and tech sites just before the trade's biggest conference of the year: the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with the industry's big guns fighting to make the front page. After visiting CES, everyone thought it was the year of the tablet, and at Nokia, they have finally realised that the race for mobile share is not about making the smallest device, but the most capable.
The man of the week has to be Nokia CEO Stephen Elop for his internal memo where he recognises the poor prospects of the Finnish handset maker with questionable literary figures. A burning platform? More of a sunken ship that Windows Phone 7 will try to give some credibility in the coming months. It only takes a Microsoft veteran to see in this partnership a solution for the biggest handset maker in the world.
"Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem."
The new strategy will definitely give some fresh air to the saturated smartphone scene. As Elop states in his memo, it is all about ecosystems now and not about device market share anymore. He also notes that Apple has been successful at creating a closed system where developers land as the place to be. Microsoft has been working hard to get some of the big names to sign up for the WP7 launch along with an aggressive strategy to make development as pain free as possible.
The last part of the puzzle is getting a reputable (?) brand to embrace the operating system and launch series of smartphones to increase its user base. For me this must be the only benefit Microsoft sees teaming up with Nokia: market presence around the world, proven distribution power and a voice negotiating deals with mobile operators globally.