Nokia CEO says he picked Windows Phone over fear of Samsung dominating Android

elop1Last week, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop defended his company’s decision two years ago to try to create a “third ecosystem” by throwing its weight behind Windows Phone, competing against iPhone and Android.

Now, in a recent roundtable with European media outlets, Elop went into more detail about that logic and shed light on how he feared Samsung would dominate the Android platform, something that the company has essentially done.

Here’s what Elop said of the decision, via 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.

“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.”

Elop, the former Microsoft exec, also said that he saw an opportunity to entice carriers with a third alternative to Apple and Samsung. And while he admitted that it is difficult to challenge the two mobile kingpins, “you look at a number of other Android providers right now and they’re in a tough spot.”

Last week, Elop added that one reality of trying to establish that third ecosystem is that you have to work harder to help consumers, partners and the people who sell the phones understand what that alternative is about. That is Nokia’s responsibility, he said.

As part of its quarterly earnings report posted this morning, Nokia showed it is still losing money, but at a smaller scale. Shipments of Lumia devices reached 7.4 million units in the second quarter (up from 4 million units in the same quarter a year ago), which has helped Microsoft reach a milestone in its effort to become the clear No. 3 player in the global smartphone market, behind Android and iOS.

Previously on GeekWire: Nokia’s Elop defends Windows Phone, says AT&T actually isn’t all that crummy 

  • panacheart

    He didn’t pick Windows Phone, it was his last resort. Samsung has always wanted to commoditize the OS, pitting Windows Phone against Symbian and Linux variants. Samsung actually wanted Windows phone to be more successful that it is, but only to balance the fight so none of the commercial OS offered got too strong.

  • Anonymous

    Please! He was planted at Nokia -as a former MSFT Exec- to develop the partnership, which he did months after joining, and avoid European Anti-Trust complications MSFT faced in the past with monopoly findings.