Nokia ‘Made Wrong Choice’ with Microsoft, says Google’s Eric Schmidt

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, says that he would welcome Nokia choosing to use Android in the future.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that “We would have loved that they had chosen Android. They chose the other guys, that other competitor, Microsoft. I think we are pretty straightforward.” Photo: TechCrunch/Flickr

Google Inc. has insisted Nokia ‘made the wrong choice’ by rejecting the U.S. technology company’s Android smartphone operating system in favour of one by its chief rival.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s outgoing chief executive, has confirmed that his company held “confidential negotiations with Nokia that were extensive” before the Finnish company chose to sign up with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform.

Mr Schmidt said on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that “We would have loved that they had chosen Android. They chose the other guys, that other competitor, Microsoft. I think we are pretty straightforward.” He added that Nokia would be welcomed to Android should they reconsider in the future.

Nokia’s investors have reacted badly to its decision, announced last Friday, to use Microsoft ‘s Windows Phone 7 operating system in a bid to end the Finnish company’s problems in the smartphone market.

Shares in Nokia have fallen by up to 20 per cent since the announcement of the deal with Microsoft, but analysts have observed that the mobile phone company, still the world’s largest, did not have any other options.

Investors are partly concerned about the risk that Nokia could suffer further significant smartphone market share loss as it moves over the next two years to use Windows Phone.

Mr Schmidt said that “We would like them to adopt Android at some point in the future and that offer remains open. We think Android was a good choice for Nokia. We are sorry they made a different choice.”

The comments were made to journalists after Mr Schmidt’s keynote address to Mobile World Congress in which he made a wide-ranging case for computers than meant humans were “Not lost, never lonely, never bored”.

He said new technology offered the possibility of “a lifelong life of knowledge and entertainment – a pot pourri for all of us to choose from.”

Eric Schmidt said his vision was of  “a future for the masses not the elites; 2 billion people will enter our conversation who we’ve never heard from will enter our conversation in the next year.”

Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, said last week that its use of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 would ensure there was a mass-market alternative to the operating systems by Apple and Google.

He also said that Nokia decided not to use Google’s Android platform partly because of the risk that its products would undergo commoditisation.

Andy Rubin, Google’s head of Android development, rejected suggestions that its operating system was unleashing commoditisation in the handset market.

He insisted handset makers using Android were able to differentiate their products, and highlighted Sony Ericsson’s new gaming phone, called the Xperia Play.

Android has become the most popular smartphone operating system. Sales of Android-based handsets overtook Nokia’s smartphones running on its much-criticised Symbian operating system in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Canalys, the research firm.

Nokia is only likely to make large volumes of smartphones based on Windows Phone in 2012, while Android, released in late 2008, is enjoying hyper growth.

Mr Schmidt said 300,000 Android-based handsets were getting connected to mobile phone networks every day. He added there were 170 Android handsets by 27 manufacturers in the market, spread across 69 countries. [via  The Telegraph (UK) and Yahoo!]

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