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Moving from the Hardware to Software Epoch

September 21, 2010

I have a lot of time for John Naughton’s analysis of technology events.  In another good column he charts the transition of the mobile area from one where it was the hardware that mattered to one where the software is tops – the smart phone era…

But there came a moment in the evolution of the mobile phone when suddenly the software was more important than the hardware. That moment was the arrival of the iPhone. And Nokia missed its significance for two reasons: its senior people – being hardware-focused – didn’t see it; and the company lacked the software capability to compete. It didn’t, for example, have a mobile operating system that was up to the job. In fact, it still doesn’t, which is why it will eventually be forced to buy one in from outside. The only available options are Windows Phone 7 and Google’s Android. So, in the end, it looks as though Nokia’s future will be as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) of handsets running someone else’s operating system.

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