'Newkia' formed to attract renegade Nokia employees, churn out Android hardware
It's been an eventful week for Windows Phone with Microsoft purchasing Nokia's hardware division. Many of us welcomed the deal that went down the other day, but some are sceptical and believe it to be a sign of how the platform is failing. This includes ex-Nokia employee Thomas Zilliacus, who's now executive chairman and founder of Mobile FutureWorks. His response to Nokia's sale? Newkia.
Zilliacus noted how Nokia enjoyed its term as the world's leader in mobile phones, to become nothing more than a small and insignificant brand today. Blaming Windows Phone, he goes into some detail about how the Lumia line of hardware have been superb and well-received, but complains about the operating system - lack of apps, no ecosystem. The usual comments. This is ignoring the fact Windows Phone has snatched 15 percent in Vietnam, as an example of growth.
The last part is true, but Microsoft has been rebranding the entire company.
Previously spending 15 years of his life as a Nokia employee, including seven where he was Asia-Pacific CEO, Zilliacus left in 1993 but remained as a regional consultant. His current investment company, Mobile FutureWorks include former Nokia's mobile phones CEO Jorma Nieminen and Ericsson's former CEO Sven-Christer Nilsson. There are some big names involved.
A cool fact in this report over at ZDNet is Zilliacus attempted to buy out Nokia a year ago to steer the manufacturer to Android, but was unable to raise capital.
Looking ahead with Newkia
With the "new Nokia" formed and ready to go, Zilliacus knows Nokia employees who are keen to develop for Android and who may wish to join the cause. It's reported he has already gathered a team of former Nokia employees and is hoping to take on more expertise across the board, from design to logistics and manufacturing.
Since Zilliacus and co. will look to secure the feel of the current Nokia, Newkia plans for its research and development (R&D) to be based out of Finland, with other divisions located in other well-known locations, including Silicon Valley. It's almost ironic in a sense for Nokia to be mocked for being the leading manufacturer for Windows Phone and dominating the market, for Zilliacus to then create a startup for Android, which is aggressively dominated by Samsung.
That said, it has been done before, noting China's Xiaomi as an example. The company released its first mobile phone a year ago and today Xiaomi outsells Apple in China. So it can be done in certain regions. Newkia will be targeting Asia, but how will the company perform in Europe or the US? That's yet to be seen.
Nokia will continue doing what it does today with mapping and services, as well as NSN and other ventures. Microsoft will simply house the magic that has been behind the Lumia family of Windows Phones, securing the future of the product line, as well as potentially bringing better integration, support and an overall experience to consumers. Good luck, Newkia. Microsoft will keep its Nokia as is with the growth it's experiencing in multiple regions.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.