updated 04:15 pm EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Elop: Nokia has WP8 rights beyond others, even Microsoft
Even with rumors of a Microsoft smartphone surfacing again, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop believes the Finnish smartphone maker will be able to distinguish its Lumia line of Windows Phone 8 devices and provide a WP8 experience that no other manufacturers can match, including Microsoft. Elop's comments came as part of an interview with GigaOM, one in which the Nokia CEO noted that Nokia's bet on the Windows Phone platform had netted the phone maker some permissions particular to Nokia. Those permissions, as well as Nokia's years of research into smartphone technologies, give Elop confidence that, should Microsoft roll out its own smartphone, Nokia's position in the WP8 segment will be largely unaffected.
Elop said that the possibility of Microsoft introducing its own smartphone, possibly under the Surface brand, would have no impact on the close relationship between the software giant and the erstwhile leader in the mobile phone market. Nokia's main differentiating factor, according to Elop, is the PureView imaging technology the company is building into its Lumia 920 flagship model. Nokia has spent "five or six years," according to Elop, developing the technology, which gives the forthcoming Windows Phone handset low-light photography and image stabilization recording capabilities that surpass those seen in other smartphones on the market.
Asked if Microsoft was crafting aspects of Windows Phone 8 specifically for Nokia, Elop parried the question, noting instead that Windows Phone 8, in terms of photography, has built into it "hooks, capabilities that others could take advantage of, to plug things in." Nokia's work on the PureView technology, though, gives the Finnish company a head start in photography.
Asked again about the possibility of a Nokia-specific build of WP8, Elop said that the company had "rights beyond any of the other manufacturers to do unique things and to enforce certain exclusivities for our products." These rights, Elop said, stem from the company's decision to bet big on the Windows Phone platform. Elop did not elaborate on how exactly Nokia might be empowered to "enforce" its exclusivities, but he did say that, under its current contract, the company would be able to enforce those rights "regardless of who is making those phones," even Microsoft.