The main concern about Nokia Corp.'s transition to Windows Phone operating system is that the company will lose ability to offer exclusive software features on its phones. But while Microsoft Corp. will obviously restrict Nokia's innovation, the company will be granted rights to customize Windows Phone rather heavily.
Nokia's pact with Microsoft gives the mobile phone maker "nearly unlimited freedom to customize Microsoft's Windows Phone smartphone software", said Niklas Savander, a member of the Nokia leadership team, in an interview with Phone Scoop web-site. Mr. Savander added that the company plans to avoid making changes that would setback OS updates from Microsoft reaching Nokia customers.
As a result, Nokia's customizations to Windows Phone will divide into two categories:
- High-level customizations that are easy to bring to new OS versions from Microsoft.
- Deep customizations that will be implemented jointly with Microsoft, implemented into the OS, and made available to competing manufacturers.
Obviously, one should wait and see how Nokia will be able to improve Windows Phone 7 operating system and how it will be able to make its phones unique compared to other handsets based on the same platform.
One important thing that Nokia loses with transition to Windows Phone (and would have also lost if it had chosen Android or MeeGo) is its unique operating system available only to itself. Although Symbian was open to other phone makers, Nokia was the primary developer and user of the OS. With Windows Phone, it will hardly have similar advantages. As a result, Apple going forward will be the only company with a proprietary operating system for its mobile devices. Naturally, it is not hard to tailor an OS for one or two Apple devices; by contrast, Nokia has tens of them. But from now on those produces will not be as unique as they used to be.