All the power in the mobile phone industry lies with the operators. Nokia is no-where in the US because the US operators don’t take their phones. They have cosy deals with the Koreans.
Operators buy 80% of the mid to high end phones sold.
But today the operators are scared of Apple and google. While the operators used to think they could make money from content and apps they’ve seen iTunes waltz away with the money.
Apple wants a soft SIM, so you will be able to change network with an iTunes download.
They are even more scared of Google. While Android is open source the apps on an android phone – things like the ability to make a call, phone book and text messaging are apps in this context, are not. They are a fee licence from Google and you can’t mess with them the operators are scared that Google will mandate Google voice, sucking the operators main source of revenue into google.
They are scared as in they’ve been having meetings about it. The nudge, nudge, wink, wink agreement is to support Nokia and Microsoft
So when Elop polled the operators about what to do next, the answer wasn’t Android. The operators said that they could see Symbian (or actually S60 on top of Symbian) wasn’t getting the developer support and Nokia needed a new direction. They would support Nokia with Windows.
This isn’t just about Nokia and Microsoft teaming up to take on Google and Apple, it’s about Nokia, Google and the major operators teaming up to take on Google and Apple. It remains to be seen how brave those operators are when it comes to not stocking the latest Apple phone if that means losing customers.