Microsoft isn’t evolving its Windows Phone platform fast enough for Nokia’s taste, according to an executive for the Finnish phone-maker.
“We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say ‘time is of the essence,’” Nokia vice president Bryan Biniak told the International Business Times. “Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn’t do us any good when I have phones to sell today.” A lack of must-have apps, he added, is translating into missed sales.
“As a company we don’t want to rely on somebody else and sit and wait for them to get it right,” Biniak added. Nokia and Microsoft are negotiating with a number of third-party developers over “important applications,” and he seemed optimistic that the Windows Phone platform would eventually become much more robust from a software standpoint.
Nonetheless, Biniak’s comments highlight a particular conundrum confronting Nokia at this delicate juncture in its history: although the manufacturer has made an all-or-nothing bet on Windows Phone’s success on the open marketplace, the software continues to lag well behind Google Android and Apple iOS with regard to adoption. And while Nokia has poured considerable resources into designing top-notch hardware (including a smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera), Microsoft hasn’t been quite so aggressive with the software updates: the last major upgrade to the Windows Phone platform was last summer, when Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.
And therein lies the fissure: Microsoft has a whole lot of other business concerns—Windows, Xbox, Office, etc.—to fund its bottom line and occupy its employees’ attentions. Failing to upgrade Windows Phone won’t sink Microsoft, although it could harm its ability to compete in the all-important mobile arena.
But Nokia only produces phones, and it chucked its popular homegrown operating systems (such as Symbian) in favor of Microsoft’s software—if Windows Phone languishes, dragging down phone sales in the process, it could metastasize into an existential crisis for the company. Nokia executives probably look at Microsoft’s failure to secure popular apps such as Instagram and shudder in fear; if their software partner fails to keep updating Windows Phone—or even worse, decides to scrub the project in the same way they flushed Windows Mobile—then a lot of people in Finland could end up applying for unemployment.