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MeeGo’s Impending Success Thorn in Elop’s Side

Elop says just one more MeeGo phone, the Nokia N9, then that’s it for the doomed platform, full throttle on Windows Phone (much to the chagrin of the Finnish who don’t think much of Nokia’s CEO but are quite fond of MeeGo).

While MeeGo had been quietly building up steam, Elop felt he had to shake things up wildly with the Microsoft deal and rip the MeeGo and Symbian band-aids right off under the belief that that MeeGo and Windows Phone were mutually-exclusive prospects, or perhaps that was just a condition of Microsoft’s interest in Nokia.

Many took exception to this when it was announced, bailing out of multiple platforms that especially in MeeGo’s case was taking shape fast, also being laid off didn’t go over too well along with the value of any shares or options they had tanking upon the Microsoft announcement, but just before the new doctrine could be fully digested, the reviews and general hype of the Nokia N9, the supposedly final MeeGo-powered phone, are blowing up the web and only with superlatives.

As a result of this phone being so sweet from hardware to software and from head to toe, even though the strategically announced WP-powered Nokia Sea Ray is roughly identical to this in terms of general sweetness, there is clearly more interest in Nokia and MeeGo than in Nokia and Windows Phone. That’s not trivial.

Want proof? I got proof. Made you a chart, Google Trends style. To screw around with this data yourself, go here.

So those are charts of the worldwide volume of Google searches of MeeGo Nokia and “Windows Phone” Nokia, blue and red respectively, related aggregated news article volume below. Again, searches, not total hits, so more reflective of consumer interest I’d say. I didn’t look it up but I suspect the spike on the right has something to do with the N9 reviews.

Here’s a breakdown of search interest of the two sets by the top ten cities of greatest MeeGo Nokia searches on the left and to be fair a top ten of the two pitted against each other with WP search volume weighting the city order on the right (today’s data):

So while there is some interest in Nokia/WP that isn’t being drowned out by MeeGo/Nokia in Kuwait, Singapore and Australia (also Hungarian speakers of the world seem slightly sweeter on WP), everyone else tuned into Nokia is more focused on MeeGo than Windows Phone. Is that not fair to say?

I bet Elop wasn’t anticipating that when he first dug in his heels on what he probably knew wouldn’t go over well, at least not to that degree. What’s MeeGo? Well, it’s just a year old, people who use it like it, don’t know much more about it than that I’ll admit. Here’s some MeeGo stuff, check it out on Youtube maybe, whatever. Here’s a developer and employee who went back and forth a bit on this with Elop, so read this bombshell if you want better information (otherwise keep reading).

The clincher: The N9 with MeeGo under its hood will run Ovi Maps, the first thing to take on Android’s Google Maps Navigation (Windows Phone presently has no such thing).

The Windows Phone cousin of the N9, the still in-utero Sea Ray should run it too, and it will most likely be a dazzling phone, but no one seems to know when it will hit whereas the N9’s slated to be released next quarter, pulling in all that mindshare along the way, making it harder and harder for Windows Phone to be taken seriously as the new sheriff in Finland, making it harder and harder for Elop not to backpeddle out of Microsoft exclusivity and not to reconsider his position on the N9 being the last MeeGo phone and whether or not he should have gone completely all-in with Microsoft.

If this new MeeGo UI is all it’s cracked up to be, that’s a highly raised bar and after people assimilate to it and blog about how great it is, when it’s time to buy the Sea Ray, Windows Phone is going to feel much less underwhelming than if this N9 / MeeGo thing never happened. The N9 and MeeGo are putting each other on the map right now, just when everyone is supposed to be getting psyched about the Microsoft Nokia deal and moving on from whatever platforms Nokia has had a hand in. But this N9 is sitting pretty to start outselling all WPs combined, no? Think this is inconsequential as there’s plenty of room still in the market for more competition? Yeah?

Could be time for him to read any fine print he inked with Microsoft to see if he’s got any wiggle room to keep riding this MeeGo pony. As stubborn and cocksure as he’s purporting to be about this, about Microsoft, I bet you he’s thinking the same thing. Nokia is not going to throw in the MeeGo towel, not by a longshot. It will become redoubtable on its own merits and at Windows Phone’s expense.

Doug Simmons