Stephen Elop: Google backing away from Android’s open ecosystem

If Nokia CEO Stephen Elop raised hope a few weeks ago that we might someday see a Nokia phone powered by Android, he has thrown water (or perhaps peed) on those flames with his most recent statements. While presenting Nokia”s Q4 2012 earnings, he offered a condemnation of Android, expressing concern that Google is attempting to close its open ecosystem.

Elop said that one problem with Android, fragmentation, is “offset by Google’s efforts to turn an open ecosystem into that’s quite a bit more closed.” He notes that this is a recent trend, which may refer to anything from Google dropping Exchange ActiveSync support, effectively gimping Gmail support on Windows Phone devices. Google has also failed to provide their suite of mobile apps for the platform powering Nokia’s smartphones.

But his statements could also refer to an expanded Nexus program, the buyout of Motorola, and rumored plans of a flagship Android handset taking advantage of that acquisition. The concern there is that Google will reposition itself as not only a software provider, but a device manufacturer directly competing with the likes of Samsung and other Android partners.

Needless to say, whether you agree with Mr. Elop’s opinion or not, it doesn’t sound like he has any immediate plans to support the work that Google is doing. That Nokia Android might still be the pipe dream of smartphone users everywhere.

[via The Verge]

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  • blueyedsoul1

    I say forward any comments made by Mr. Elop to 1999 when his company was still relevant.

    • unbearablepleasures

      DAMN! Cold blooded! LOL

    • meliorist

      To be fair, Nokia was still relevant until 2007. That’s when they peaked and began to decline. Seems like longer ago, but it wasn’t. I guess time moves faster in the mobile industry.

      • itznfb

        Only because Nokia was the only company willing to manufacturer buckets of crappy phones for services like Boost Mobile and Virgin. They were never relevant in the smartphone market….. hence, they haven’t been relevant to people like us since oh… 1999.

  • Scott Tompkins

    Closed… you mean, like Windows Phone?

  • Unorthodox

    The boy still pees against the wind…
    Google’s banning MS is a natural market progression. Everyone now is trying to put MS back to where it belongs.

  • Wesley

    Who cares what eFlop has to say, he is a former Microsoft Exec and major shareholder, he will never say anything good about Android and does not know or care anything useful.

    • AMbro86

      Ah yes, I almost forgot Elop is merely a Microsoft stooge. Such a travesty. Nokia deserves better than him if they want to become relevant again.

  • supremekizzle

    This is a case, not unlike Apple, where just because a CEO doesn’t like something they will sacrifice the good of their company just to prove a point. Grow the fu*k up, guy.

    • Manbo

      I’m not your guy, friend!

      • Lactose_the_Intolerant

        I’m not your friend, pal!

        • Manbo

          I’m not your pal, buddy!

          • Guest

            I’m not your buddy, mate!

          • Manbo

            I’m not your mate, guy!


          • Adrian P

            I’m not your buddy, bra!

          • Christopher Houser

            I’m not your bra, bosom!

          • Sentinelred

            C-C-C-C-COMO BREAKER!!!

          • OtisFeelgood

            You forgot a B. >_<

          • Dvrcowboy

            I’m not your buddy, homey!

          • Dvrcowboy

            I’m not your buddy, homey

      • nycplayboy78

        I am not your homie, Bruh….Come at me Bro…..FALLS OUT!!! :)

  • Rdfry

    Jesus this guy is still the clueless idiot that he has always been. They should have done what HTC did and make phones for both platforms then maybe people would give a s##t.

  • maximillion82

    Wow he will be kicking himself in a year. Google would never change a running system. Just look at sales numbers, Android is the market leader, why change that. WP is such a small player why invest into a system that has barely any market penetration. It’s not worth the resources for Google to create a large scale support for WP simple as that, this has nothing to do with Google closing Android.

  • Sinned66

    What would you expect from a loser that makes bad phones?

  • romanl123

    So by ditching the closed sorce Exchange protocol and going with the open source carddav and caldav Google is supposedly closing down Android. Does this guy even have a clue about what he’s talking?

    • master94

      No he does not. He chose Windows Phone over Android

    • DannyB2

      Yes, Elop DOES have a clue what he is saying. He says whatever he thinks is profitable. (translation: he says whatever Ballmer tells him to say.)

    • NexusKoolaid

      Deflection and distraction. Highlight the problems of your opponent, even if you have to make stuff up, to keep people from noticing your own failings.

    • David Paison

      CalDAV requires that you information support iCal. Seems as if I remember iCal having some pretty strict requirements set by those other closed source company….

      This move is just bitter resentment for another company. They said they wouldn’t be evil, they never said they wouldn’t be dicks.

  • CaptBebops

    I think he is referring to Google recently announcing they would be restricting the license to avoid some crazy fragmentation. As it is a manufacturer can implement some weird size or resolution screen on which apps will break causing all kinds of headaches for developers. Case in point would even be the Nexus 10 which has a 2560×1600 screen.

  • Cliff Wynne

    Dear Mr. Elop…Please direct all questions and statements to that brickwall over there or when Windows Phone can actually muster itself to be competitive….

  • Manbo

    So what I gather is, he ‘might’ think that Google creating a flagship handset that compete’s with Samsung and friends is bad?

    So what happens when one of the other Android handset manufacturers one ups that phone?

    Oh, what’s that word… you know… that thing that people or companies do to push technology forward… oh it’s on the tip of my tongue…

    • bmg314

      Litigate? O.o

      • Manbo

        lol, that’s the one! ;)

  • John Wentworth

    Just sour grapes, because Google doesn’t think windows phones are popular enough to justify spending time and money to make windows phone apps, which is windows phone biggest problem, lack of apps. Which makes sense to me, windows phone by design will always be dominiated by their own search bing.

    • AMbro86

      Ha! Google doesn’t even take the time to acknowledge Windows Phone is competition. For every “Android sucks” from Microsoft, and by extension Elop, Google chooss to simply ignore Windows Phone.

  • DavidB23

    His opinion might be useful if Nokia was actually making smart decisions. Maybe Nokia could make coasters out of all the excess inventory of nokia windows phones.

    • AMbro86

      If only Elop got a dime for every person that just called him on his BS, he’d be making more money than off Windows Phone right now.

  • Bob someguy

    This guy is a tool and still trying to grasp at what little market share his phone still has. Your company didn’t make money this quarter off of its phones, it made it off the other stuff.

  • Paul Finlay

    So long Nokia..

  • King_James_The_Wicked

    Who cares what he thinks…

  • Kennon

    I think that Nokia and Microsoft make perfect partners. Both once dominated their respective spaces. Both held tightly onto their products well beyond their prime, and refused to change with the market. Both are cults of personality around old leadership. Now they are clutching onto each other tightly (and will ultimately blame one another) as they listen to the orchastra play the waltz as their own personal titanic slowly disappears beneath the waves.

    • technohead95

      This describes exactly my own opinion except I would have made a right hash trying to explain it. Awesomely put.

  • master94

    So let me get this straight he wont support Android because it could become closed, but will support Windows phone which is already closed? How did this man become a CEO?

    • moises1204

      hahaha your guess is as good as mine!

    • DannyB2

      He became a CEO by leaving his Executive position at Microsoft to become a CEO at Nokia. It is funny how former Microsoft Execs who become CEOs at other companies end up destroying that company or turning it towards furthering Microsoft’s business goals.

      • AMbro86

        Ha! It’s like a ploy to seed ex MS employees to other companies to infect them and make them only work for Micrososft.

  • AfterShock

    He was slid under the cheque for a billion bucks, which all but gone an leaves Nokia giving MS its mapping to alleviate Os royalty costs from MS now that the honeymoon is over.

    Nokia is doomed with Elop an WP

  • Ryan Stewart

    Someone is butthurt. Google dropping a proprietary protocol in exchange for a standardized one is a crap example of closing an ecosystem. The page url says it all, this guys comments should be referred to as “slop”

    • AMbro86

      Eslop? :-D

  • camelsnot

    and his point? Microsoft is a closed ecosystem. So is Apple’s iOS. I’d actually love to see Google move towards that. This would lock down phone devs and cell providers into maintaining support longer for their devices. In order for them to continue using Android, they would have to sign agreements with Google which would only benefit the customer. They could still keep the open source version but also regulate better with their own locked down version.

  • Hank S

    Google is not open source…Android is. Why is he talking about Gmail and mobile apps? That’s like saying Linux is “closed” because Adobe Reader for linux is closed.

    • technohead95

      Just goes to show how disconnected Elop is from the real world. May be he has his own reality distortion field pointed at himself.

      • AMbro86

        All of Microsoft has a problem perceiving reality like it is. And Elop is merely an ex-Microsoft stooge so it goes to show their conditioning not only blinds them to what people really want, it makes their employees blind and dumb as well.

  • Cal Rill

    Balding Microsoft stooge says what?

  • Todd Risenmay

    You guys need to learn to read, he doesn’t say anything about exchange or google apps, that was just the auth offering interpretations of what he said.

  • Marsg

    If he knew what he was talking about, then Nokia wouldn’t be 6 feet deep in horse manure. Words coming from the man who put all his trust in Microsoft. Seriously it doesn’t take a genius to realize that’s not the best course of action especially when your company is less relevant than blackberry.

  • Robb Nunya

    Nokia? Who’s that? Do they make phone cases or something?

  • Chris Rogers

    Apple makes own hardware: QUALITY. INDUSTRIAL DESIGN. GOOD.

    Microsoft makes own hardware: BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO TECHNOLOGY

    Google makes own hardware (technically via Motorola): CLOSED. AWFUL. BAD. TECH DOOMED FOREVER.

  • CharlieTX

    Elop could get a job in Washington any time …

  • Alu Zeros

    Nokia should come out with an android phone, it probably do better than it’s windows counterpart.


    This poor, clueless doofus probably doesn’t even realize that his last name is an antigram of the ultimate putdown.

    How fitting…………

    • AMbro86

      I think you mean anagram. But yes, yes it is.

      edit: My bad, an antigram is an anagram in which the reverse has the opposite meaning of the original word. It’s not strictly a direct antigram but it works for the intents of your insult. My apologies.

      • ari_free

        umm I still don’t get it. There are only 2 anagrams for elop: ‘lope’ (an easy natural gait of a horse) and ‘pole’ (as in telephone or north pole)

      • KOLIO

        It’s all good!

  • $8357570

    remind us to care about elop when he’s not a part of a company he was put into as a plant. Remind us when he doesnt’ play the political game and basically troll us with android fragmentation comments.

    tldr: elop (article’s URL link is more appropriate, he should be referred to as slop), is a troll.

    • AMbro86

      Elop: A smaller version of Ballmer, Ooh! he even makes similar comments!

      • ari_free

        Except that Ballmer keeps working and working and working and working and coming and coming and…

  • AMbro86

    The thing that makes the hypocrisy even more apparent is the fact that Elop, who signed the deal with the devil to make ONLY Windows Phones (which while we’re talking about closed…), and then he goes on to say Android is getting TOO closed? What about this doesn’t compute logically?

    Now if Google were doing something with Motorola, which they have yet to show any signs of actually doing, or if they were closing up Android, which they haven’t, then I could see how he maybe had something to stand on. But even if Google DID only make their Nexus phones via Motorola in the future it doesn’t mean that Android wouldn’t be available for everyone to use. Samsung can still keep humbling Apple with the enormous success of their Galaxy line, and HTC, LG, Sony, and others can keep putting out high quality handsets that people will want to buy. Heck, even Nokia, if they had made that choice, could still pick up Android and do what they want with it and sell some handsets. So really on all accounts Elop is either being idiotic and speaking out of his rear, or he is just trying to bash Android in order to generate some publicity so people will suddenly come to their senses and rush out to buy the first Nokia 920 they can get their hands on. Both ways Elop is being stupid and unrealistic about the mobile market and Android.

    • ari_free

      He’s trying to use the pure higher standard argument: “we never claimed to be anything but closed but you are supposed to be the open source champion to be anointed by Richard Stallman but you are obviously not so haha you hypocrite!”

  • scoter man1

    Someone needs to take a Nokia 3310, hit him over the head, drag his body to the ocean with some cinder blocks and replace his position. STAT. Well… that is of course if anyone still cares about Nokia devices.

  • selonmoi

    Thanks, Mr. Elop. I was curious to know what the biggest failure of a tech CEO in history thought about Google’s ecosystem strategy. Now I do.

  • Pink Floyd

    “might still be the pipe dream of smartphone users everywhere.” I would say smartphone users everywhere could not care less if Nokia makes an android handset. Why would anyone care? What would Nokia have that Samsung, HTC, LG do not? Rhetorical.

  • No_Nickname90

    Um…? Google doesn’t control what OEM’s do with their phones. If the Nexus lineups are getting their timely updates, then I don’t see any fragmentation going on. If you buy a Samsung device, you have to wait for TouchWiz to become compatible. You’re not waiting for your phone to become compatible. The OS probably works on your phone stock wise. Blaming fragmentation on Google. The nerve of you.

  • Sean Daniel

    Elop is almost as big a laugh as Balmer. Almost.


    Nokia! Go and screw yourself with your crappy Windows phoes… I won’t buy any of these…

    • socalrailroader

      Fine, your loss.

  • socalrailroader

    It’s true though, and Google is doing an Apple on Microsoft in order to try and squash their competition, whatever happened to the old Google of “Do no evil” ?

    • socalrailroader

      Seriously, sometimes this site is as fanboyish as BGR, I own a Nexus 4, and a Nokia Lumia 920, both are awesome phones, and both have their pros and cons.If you will check, the Lumia 920 happens to be one of the most popular phones in many parts of the world now.

  • chuckles87

    Nokia go home you’re drunk!

  • CharlieTX

    Just another bad decision in a very long string of bad decisions that have brought them from #1 to #(whatever) … Nokia who?

  • Jayshmay

    I personally have no desire for a Nokia made Android smartphone.
    The Nokia N95 was amazing for it’s time, but U.S. carriers never gave S60 a fair chance.

  • Toss3

    He sounds more butthurt than anything else.

  • jurrabi

    Let’s say all that is true. Is that the reason to not build an Android phone Nokia?
    So if closing platforms and being a hardware manufacturer is not your ideal partner… what are you doing with Microsoft?
    Pour excuses from a manufacturer that lost his way 10 years ago and it’s still searching for the light of a north star to guide their steps. And they keep walking towards venus…

  • Hohlraum

    God forbid that Google doesn’t want to support the close protocols used by Activesync when they already support just about every open one known to man.