Nokia's Go-It-Alone Strategy

Stephen Elop’s first major decision as Nokia Corp.’s new chief executive could prove the most critical to the cellphone giant’s future: to continue with a go-it-alone strategy for operating systems rather than adopt Google Inc.’s Android.

As Nokia promotes its new MeeGo operating system this week at European conferences targeted at applications developers, it is being pressed to explain how the platform will enable the Finnish handset giant to reverse its dwindling share in some of its biggest markets, and the U.S., where Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google have all but shut Nokia out of the smartphone business.

Meanwhile, the rapid success of Google, whose Android platform has become the world’s second-largest smartphone operating system in just two years, has prompted another question among investors and industry insiders: Would Nokia be better off scrapping its independent platforms and join the Android bandwagon?

“Android probably looks like what Nokia could have put out and should have put out a long time ago,” said Hakim Kriout, a New York-based portfolio manager at Grigsby & Associates Inc., which holds Nokia shares. As to whether Nokia could still adopt Android, “it’s not too late,” he added.

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