Nokia’s mobile boss said that handset manufacturers who use Android are like Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" for warmth in the winter.
The FT reported that Anssi Vanjoki intended the strongly worded comments to indicate that Android is a "sloppy" operating system which would hurt the branding of smartphone buyers who would purchase phones for the operating system and not the phone.
However Nokia has come in for universal criticism for its failure to deliver a successful high end smartphone of it’s own, leading to a reduction in the average price per handset with the Finnish manufacturer increasingly marginalised from the profitable high end smartphone market.
While Nokia leads in global market share, it’s lost share overall and in the important US market the Android operating system has taken pole position as smartphone OS of choice.
Presiding over a slide in profits and share price, the Nokia board last month 12 days ago replaced CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo – teleporting in new blood Stephen Elop, the president of Microsoft’s Business Division. Shortly followed by Vanjoki resigning a day before
the Nokia World expo which analysts speculated was the result of being passed over for the top job.
Nokia World was also notable for not so much as mentioning the Intel co-developed MeeGo operating system which Nokia is pinning hopes on becoming a viable platform for a new generation of smartphones. Even the firm’s Symbian^3-powered high end N8 has been delayed.
Some analysts have agreed with some of Vanjoki’s comments in that that adopting Android could lead to lower profit businesses. However Android handset makers HTC, Samsung and Motorola have for several quarters continued to gain market share from proprietary operating system players such as Nokia and RIM.
Vanjoki’s bitter comments might be considered a little more weighty if Nokia itself was able to demonstrate that the firm’s own massive investment in proprietary software had done anything other than fail to compete with manufacturers turning to Android in order to deliver full smartphone features at consumer friendly price points.
Without an attractive next generation operating system, the entire category of mid-range feature phones is under threat from a range of new cost reduced carrier subsidized smartphones now being offered free with a contract such as the HTC Wildfire.
The shift in the market hasn’t just left Nokia out in the cold, LG and Samsung have struggled against the mainstream downward movement of full feature smartphones also. Samsung, however, has been particularly active in development of high end smartphones to offset the mid range impact.
Fellow Korean manufacturer LG has been less successful, again due to failure to produce attractive high end smartphone models. Last week LG experienced another management casualty with the replacement of Nam Yong as head of the firm’s handset business.