The Resurrection of Nokia?
There is a good reason to root for the overdogs-turned-underdogs. One of the banes of the technology world is a lack of competition. Intel has a near monopoly in the processors that power our computers; Microsoft and Apple have a duopoly on operating systems; Google has a near monopoly on search. Facebook has a near monopoly on social networking. One of the strange aspects of Microsoft’s business is that people love the products that lose it money (think XBox) and hate the products that make it money (think Word and Windows). Why? Because it makes money on products with which it has monopolies—products that it doesn’t have to innovate. When Microsoft has to compete, it makes good stuff, as it appears to have done with the Lumia.
For most of us, it’s hard to fathom switching phones. We’re devoted to apps on the iPhone or Android that aren’t available through Microsoft. Tapping on a screen to type now seems as intuitive as kicking a soccer ball across an empty lawn. But the Lumia 900 will be something different, and it has the look of something good. iPhones are technologically marvellous, but they’re also expensive and irritatingly ubiquitous; Android can be confusing. The cell-phone market could use another competitor. It probably won’t be Research in Motion, which appears set on hara-kiri. But Nokia and Microsoft are genuinely trying to recapture the magic of that old N95.