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Elop: Why Nokia chose Windows Phone over Android

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop tells Qualcomm's Uplinq conference why the Finnish cell phone manufacturer sided with Microsoft, not Google.

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, at Mobile World Congress 2011 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has once again stepped to the forefront to defend and define the Finnish cell phone manufacturer's decision to run Windows Phone 7 as its primary mobile platform.

The most recent in a series of appearances came today at Qualcomm's Uplinq conference in San Diego, Calif. There, Elop described why Nokia chose to avoid the Google Android bandwagon and sided with Microsoft instead.

Ecosystems are where the mobile battle is now, Elop said, instead of simply devices.

"Our strategic premise at Nokia is that there is an opportunity for a third and competitive ecosystem to emerge, and that is the basis on which we are going forward."

Though Nokia's boss admitted that in building Android phones, the company "would be joining an ecosystem which is on a winning trajectory," differentiating the brand was a "big concern."

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"There are already so many companies piling into that space, all doing innovative and interesting things," Elop said, "that it would be hard to stand out amongst them."

With Microsoft and Windows Phone 7, Nokia and Elop have a chance to make a name for themselves, rather than follow the Android pack.

Specifically, Nokia's Windows Phone choice would differentiate its brand from Motorola's, which has turned itself around by standing on Android's little green shoulders, and from HTC's, Samsung's, and the brands of other cell phone-makers who have produced flagship Android smartphones. Of course, it's also believed that Elop's former position as head of Microsoft's Business Division played a significant role in the Microsoft-Nokia partnership.

The mobile industry has condensed from its days of five major platforms--Windows Mobile, iPhone, Android, Palm/WebOS, and Symbian--to just two dominant operating systems: the iPhone's iOS and Google's Android. With Nokia's faltering Symbian OS on its way out, HP's newly acquired WebOS still on shaky ground, and Android already saturated with top-tier manufacturers all vying for a slice of the pie, Windows Phone was Nokia's only real choice for making a meaningful mobile imprint.

(Via Pocket-Lint)