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Stephen Elop: Nokia avoided Android as it was wary of fighting Samsung

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has explained why the company repeatedly overlooked Android, stating that fighting Samsung was the primary concern.

Although Nokia faced repeated calls to ditch WP8 and release an Android powered smartphone, Elop, speaking in an online ‘ask me anything’ session has suggested that avoiding an unwinnable battle with the might of Samsung was key to Nokia selecting Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.

“When we made the decision to focus on Windows Phone back in 2011, we were very concerned that a decision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course with Samsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android,” Elop stated.

He added: “That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMs from those days pushed to the side.”

Although Nokia resisted the market-leading lure of the Android OS for a number of years, during MWC earlier this year, the manufacturer – now under the control of Microsoft – unveiled a budget Android hybrid handset in the Nokia X.

“Today, we are using AOSP to attack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia,” Elop stated.

During his AMA session Elop offered a number of truths around Nokia’s recent years, detailing why the company’s internal OS efforts had to be scrapped in order to save the overall business.

“Back in late 2010 and 2011, we carefully assessed the state of the internal Nokia operating system efforts,” Elop told questioners. “Unfortunately, we could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped THREE years earlier.”

He added: “The Meego effort was significantly delayed and did not have the promise of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again.”

Last week Microsoft completed its takeover of Nokia’s Devices and Services business in a deal worth more than €5.44 billion (£4.48bn).

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