Maybe it loses something in the translation, but Nokia's top smartphone executive says that smartphone makers who use Android are like boys from Finland who "pee in their pants" to keep warm in winter. It may feel good at first, but then things gets worse.
Those words of wisdom from a top Nokia executive come via the Financial Times of London, which reports:
Anssi Vanjoki, outgoing head of Nokia's smartphone division, likens mobile phone makers that adopt Google's software to Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" for warmth in the winter. Temporary relief is followed by an even worse predicament.
The Financial Times doesn't follow up to find out from Vanjoki in what way cell phone makers who choose Android are like young boys who wet their pants. Presumably, though, he meant that using Android rather than developing your own operating system is quick and easy, but that in the long run by using another company's smartphone operating system, your phones become a commodity, and you can't charge top-dollar for them.
Vanjoki's statement comes at a particularly difficult time for Nokia, which is seeing its onetime cell phone dominance melt away. One big reason is the surging growth of Android, which will be number 2 to Nokia Symbian's number 1 by the end of the year, according to Gartner. Gartner says that by 2014, Android devices will outsell Symbian devices.
Incoming Nokia head Stephen Elop, who Nokia grabbed from Microsoft, will have a basic decision to make about Nokia's future: Should it continue to develop Symbian, or instead use another operating system for its phones, such as Windows Phone 7, or Android. We know what Vanjoki thinks of that choice, but not what Elop thinks of it.
The Financial Times quotes insightful information about Nokia's profit margins and development budget. It reports:
Nokia sinks a tenth of its handset division's revenue into research and development, three times as much as Apple. UBS reckons Nokia could cut annual R&D spending by about 1bn a year if it stopped working on software, lifting the division's operating margin by 400 basis points.
If those numbers are true, maybe it's time for Nokia to release its bladder.