HTC's Chou and Nokia's Elop duke it out at Mobile World Congress

During the latest keynote speech at Mobile World Congress, HTC's Peter Chou and Nokia's Stephen Elop had a few fun moments taking shots at each during their talks and later during the question and answer session.  In what was probably the most exciting thing to happen here since Nokia announced a 41MP camera, the two (who insist they are friends and on good terms) clearly have some tension as both compete for market share and the minds of consumers.

One area that was addressed not once but twice was Nokia's 41MP camera versus HTC's 16MP on the Titan II announced last month. Elop started first by retelling the story of Chou announcing the phone back at CES and realizing they had to break out their 41MP camera sooner than later in order to steal back the focus on camera optics. Later, Chou told a similar story of how he asked Elop what he thought about the Titan II's camera and reportedly Elop was "silent" on the matter, clearly flustered. This worried Chou that Nokia were going to hit and hit back hard (indeed they did). What made that moment extremely entertaining though was when Chou insisted on telling his version of the CES story, Elop asked if he could snap Chou's picture (with the Pure View) while doing so--clearly a fun jest and the crowd reacted appropriately with roars of laughter. Point, Nokia.

Later, Chou was asked by the moderator what he thought when Nokia reported a $250 million payment from Microsoft, clearly part of the two's partnership. Chou was fairly diplomatic on the issue saying that he thought Nokia would be help lift everyone in regards to Windows Phone but obviously the payment must have slightly perturbed him, being a Microsoft partner for over 15 years.

Chou was also modest on the chances of Windows Phone success. He thinks there's nothing wrong with the OS and it's a great system but it seemed clear from his responses that he thought Android and iOS would clearly dominate for the foreseeable future. Though he did report that their Windows Phone customsers had extremely high satisfaction ratings for their phones with very few returns, something we've reported on before.

Interestingly, both Chou and Elop agreed that the 16MP versus 41MP competition is really misguided and focused too much on specs versus the customer experience, something both companies are concerned with (Elop more so as he "hopes it's not a spec war").

All in all, watching the two smartphone heavy weights discuss the pros and cons of Windows Phone was exciting both for the tension and humorous jousting between the two companies.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • "who insist they are friends and on good terms"
    They are though, both companies never got into a legal dispute, I have never seen HTC steal a design from Nokia, I have seen them often joke with each other at conferences.
    Samsung and Nokia however, those two don't get along, Samsung has taken many "hints" from Nokia in terms of design, and they have chosen never to partner with each other, Samsung also threatens the symbian market with low priced bada phones in developing nations.
    Either way, I don't care about Samsung anymore, they have turned their back against WP, this was clear at MWC. The only reason Samsung is even releasing WP phones is because MS "nudged" them to do so, but they are not interested in imporving the platform unlike Nokia and HTC.
  • Samsung has not turned their backs on WP. They released two Mango phones and yesterday announced their intentions to produce WP8 phones. To expect anything more from them is unrealistic.
  • I gotta say, the longer this goes on, the more confident I am that my next phone has gotta be a NOKIA. All respect for HTC but their loyalty is way too divided. Whereas with Nokia you know they are going to focus their resources on WP7 coz that's where they've got all of their bets.
  • Also, my HTC titan still suffers from random resets, post mango compass randomness and spotty WiFi performance. You're losing me HTC where's the update?
  • I have to agree here. Where is the update for the MAC Address issue on the HD7s? We constantly hear of Nokia addressing their issues (Battery, etc) even if they aren't pushed out immediately. I heard one word about the MAC address issue, and I STILL have to fear resetting my phone for any reason.
  • What's the MAC address issue on the HD7? First I've heard of it.
  • Wow - haven't had any of those issues (or any others to speak of) with my Titan.
  • Not quite all their bets. They are still cranking out new smartphones with their own OS.
  • Anyone have a video link?
  • They usually post in a few days. We'll try to do a follow up when it's available.
  • Video link now.
  • A great Camera on a dying platform?
  • They spent five years developing the PureView tech using the Symbian OS - it only makes sense for them to debut the tech with Symbian!  Regardless, it will be a device that will sell to the cameraphone enthusiasts, and most likely will be distributed in markets similar to the N9, which means it won't have a worldwide release.
    They'll get the feedback from the Symbian users, include the improvements in the WP iteration, and release it with the WP Apollo hardware in late 2012/early 2013; it will be distributed in more markets, and enjoyed on the WP platform.
    I'm just hoping that Nokia DOES NOT recycle that 808 phone design for WP :)
  • I personally think they will. Maybe a different front, but fitting a sensor the size of Panasonic lx5 into that phone is just amazing and they have designed it so well.
  • Though I am a windows phone mango user (using Nokia lumia 710) I am still loyal to Symbian and I love the openness it gives and many features that WP currently does not have. (Dammmmn that Metro is toooo beatifullllllll) I love WP more than Symbian in terms of design. Symbian is best. They will release Nokia 808 pureview worldwide and later will release That WooOoow 41 Mp camera with a WP os in it. They should keep both os alive.
  • Nokia needs to start talking shit. That will help MS. Nothing lights a fire under someone's ass like people saying you suck and you can't beat them. If Nokia starts shit with Samsung,HTC,LG etc. Maybe they will get off their ass and start making good phones. Instead of throwing shit at the wall hoping it will stick.
  • Samsung HTC and all the windowsphone makers made nice quality windows phones.. They might not promote them as much but they did what MSFT required.. When windows phone 8 comes out im sure it will blow everybodys mind
  • Chou Is correct that android and ios will be the leaders, MSFT will be happy to take 3rd place in the USA and 1st worldwide..thank you HTC..
  • You all have to remember that MSFT makes a lot of money via android makers,so why throw money away