Nokia’s ex-Microsoft CEO, Stephen Elop, recently spoke at the Open Mobile Summit in London, and spoke fairly bluntly about the nature of Android and iPhone’s openness. For one, he claimed that “Apple created Android, or at least it created the conditions necessary to create Android. People decided they could not play in the Apple way, and they had to do something else. Then Google Stepped in there and created Android, and others jumped on the Android train.” As much as I might like to say that BlackBerry was there all along, I think we all know it wasn’t a viable alternative to what the iPhone has been offering. Android wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, though; Elop went on to say “Google’s open box still has flaps, and we don’t know what those flaps will do,” which is particularly valid considering manufacturers and carriers can do more or less what they want with Google’s code, and even then, there are many parts of Android that aren’t open source.
That’s all well and good, but will Windows Phone be any different for Nokia? There’s not much wrong with Nokia’s hardware, and they’re hoping to get in to the good books of carriers by being cooperative rather than coercive like some companies. It definitely seems like Elop is positioning Nokia to take the same “constructive alignment” route as RIM when it comes to carriers, which basically means locking stuff down when the carrier wants to, but Microsoft has significantly more clout, and I think could stand their ground for maintaining an enjoyable end-user experience. In any case, I’m not sure that I can disagree with Elop’s assessment of the history of smartphone platforms, and it’s pretty stand-up of him to give Apple some credit for rebooting hype in smartphones and to Android spreading it far and wide.