Nokia kept mum about Windows Phone plans, Microsoft says

Nokia kept secrets from Microsoft about its upcoming hardware in the past, hampering progress, a Microsoft employee has said.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Microsoft and Nokia have been in bed for some time, so you'd expect the two to be upfront and honest with each other. The former is now buying the latter's phone division, after all. But it seems the Finnish phone firm has kept some secrets from the Redmond company in the past.

Nokia wouldn't let on key details of its upcoming handsets, Microsoft's head of Windows Phone product definition and design Joe Belfiore told CNET. And this meant Microsoft couldn't tweak its software for optimum performance on Nokia's new hardware.

"There are real-world examples of situations where Nokia was building a phone and keeping information about it secret from us," Belfiore said. "We would make changes in the software, or prioritise things in the software, unaware of the work that they're doing. And then late in the cycle we'd find out and say, 'If we had known that we would have done this other thing differently and it would have turned out better!'"

This situation is typical of any hardware partner, Belfiore said. But obviously once the takeover is complete, and Microsoft owns Nokia's mobile arm, the two will be much more in sync. Which should mean "even better" phones for us punters, according to Belfiore.

The two companies have worked more and more closely since the initial deal in 2011 put the Windows Phone OS at the forefront of Nokia's mobiles. The first collaboration -- the Lumia 800 -- was just an existing mobile repurposed to run Windows Phone, Belfiore said. But with the Lumia 1020, Microsoft made changes to its core system software to allow for new hardware features. It rejigged how its software manages incoming photos to work with the 1020's 41-megapixel snapper, for example.

Better Windows Phone handsets will be welcome news. The operating system has had good reviews, but has struggled with a lack of apps compared to Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Will the Nokia/Microsoft deal propel the OS into the big time? Let me know in the comments, or on our operating-system-agnostic Facebook page.