Jumat, 11 Februari 2011

Nokia kicks FOSS to the Curb

If you have been by my blog here before then you might know I really like my Nokia N900. It is one of the most flexible, powerful, open source friendly devices on the market. I bought mine and carry it with pride everyday (because I am an FOSS advocate). When Nokia announced they where merging Maemo into the MeeGo project I openly voiced my support. With a corporate backer like Nokia, Meego was sure to quickly become a forerunner in mobile technology.

Today Nokia revoked that backing.

In one swift move Nokia brought Meego from a potential revolutionary piece of technology to being simply the red headed step child of mobile operating systems. To quote Nokia:

"MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices."

I believe this is a kindly worded death sentence for the platform - not many developers are interested in writing software for a "longer-term market exploration" operating system. Long term means less profits, less profits means less applications, less applications means less users... It is a vicious path they have started down. One that eventually leads to the discontinuation of a short lived operating system.

What is the cause of this back seating of Meego? Nokia announced today that they struck a deal with Microsoft that will make Windows Mobile 7 the operating system on a majority of their handsets in the future. It seems some of the doubts I had when Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft employee, took over Nokia where correct. Windows Mobile 7 on Nokia devices means they will be just as restrictive as other propitiatory devices such as Apple's iPhone and RIM's Blackberry. Restricted technologies are not the way of the future and Android's explosive growth is proof of this.

I am not just blowing smoke here, lots of people are upset by this. Including many Nokia employees. In fact Geek.com estimates that close to 1,000 Nokia employees staged a walkout today, opting to use their flex-pay days to take the day off work. Consumers also appear to be taking note of this exchange as well and are responding in a similar manner. Nokia's stock dumped nearly twelve percentage points today:

Speak with your wallet folks, the N900 will be my last Nokia product unless the company does (another) serious 180 some time soon.

The biggest joke at the end of all this? We don't even have a set release date for Nokia Win7 devices (and if Nokia's stock continues to dump at this rate we may never see one). Odds are we will not see them till next year, if not later. Remember Meego handsets where first predicted to release Q4 of 2010, which turned into Q1 of 2011, which has now turned into "some time this year".

What is your take on all of this, is Nokia shooting themselves in the foot with this union or could is possibly yield something good?

~Jeff Hoogland

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