Nokia has claimed that Google’s giant acquisition of Motorola Mobility will be a “massive catalyst” for its mobile phones using the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 platform, suggesting Android may be harmed.
Analysts have said that the $12.5 billion (£7.7 billion) acquisition potentially poses risks to the business community selling phones with Google’s Android system, because it places Google as a handset competitor against a raft of current partners.
Nokia (XETRA: NOA3.DE), which has shed thousands of jobs in recent months and has so far failed to produce an Apple iPhone rival, quickly issued a statement on the acquisition. It said it “further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone”.
“This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem,” it said.
Ovum analyst Nick Dillon said he had “concerns” about the acquisition potentially placing “significant strain on the Android ecosystem”.
“If, for example, Google provides preferential access to the Android code to its own hardware division, this would place other vendors at a disadvantage and may lead them to question their commitment to the platform, potentially pushing some towards other platforms,” he said.
Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester, said that “product strategists” at other companies selling Android – including HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG – “are certain to revisit their Windows Phone hedge strategy”.
Alvin Kwock at JP Morgan said that if Motorola became the “priority” partner for Android, then other phone manufacturers may switch to the Windows system.
Yesterday, the Android phone makers issued a raft of almost identical statements, claiming they “welcome” the acquisition and were assured that Google would defend Android.
Samsung later told the Financial Times newspaper it was not sure yet what the impact would be: “The news is so sudden that we are still studying its implications ... but we are not viewing it so negatively.”