Ever notice how bad things always happen in threes? Kind of like Nokia, Microsoft, and now RIM! it’s like they were looking down the double-barrelled Android/iOS shotgun and figured “let’s stick really close together, that will protect us!” Nokia and RIM have both been loosing market share to Apple and Google’s partners; and Microsoft’s mobile OS was leap-frogged while they were busy gloating about how great it was. Now this triumvirate is attempting to regain their individual glory by teaming up and leveraging their strengths. But can they share the work required to catch-up lost ground, and can these competitors share the glory if they manage to get any of it back?
Products have a life-cycle. First they’re innovative; then they’re new, then they’re common; and finally they’re overstock clearance items. It takes some time for a product to move from one phase to the next, and you can obviously innovate on an existing platform. But it’s not enough to be innovative, you need to market that innovation. And no one markets like Apple – except maybe Google. One thing that Google has done with Android is to make smartphones common.
Now Nokia, RIM, and Microsoft have to out-innovate and out-market the un-combined, independantly single-minded forces of Apple and Google who probably don’t even realise the aforementioned stragglers even exist. Their only hope is to come from the back with something un-expected and unbeatable. And the most frustrating thing is they’re all individually capable of that feat, but working together they’ll probably bicker-away any chance of getting there.
So is this a bold move by three partners to build an innovative mobile platform? Or the last three rats thinking the fridge is theirs while the ship is sinking?