Two turkeys do not make an eagle, but it's still better than a single turkey. Ever since Nokia chose to adopt Windows Phone and RIM / BlackBerry decided to stick with their own OS, I was anxiously waiting to see how these two opposite strategies would turn out. I think we're closing in on a point where an evaluation of the success of each can soon be made.

Nokia weren't able to turn their mobile phone business around, but Microsoft's future in the computing business was so heavily relied on their products that they couldn't afford to let the Windows Phone offering die. The result: not a proud moment for Nokia, but considering it in the long term, selling the mobile phone business to Microsoft at least allowed them to remain in existence and fund the development of future businesses in whichever industry they choose to focus on next.

BlackBerry developed a new OS in-house to meet the requirements of the iPhone era. Based on the reviews, it seemed like the Z10 was a fairly solid product if you didn't consider the world outside of BlackBerry. Unfortunately that BB bubble had become so tiny already that there was not enough oxygen remaining for the new devices to survive. Based on the latest news, it looks like BlackBerry is pretty much toast and it's hard to imagine any big time player who would be interested in acquiring their ailing business. Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple all have their device manufacturing capabilities in place, Amazon's got their tablets as well, HP already failed with Palm. To me it doesn't seem like anyone really needs BlackBerry anymore.

If Nokia had continued with their Meego OS development, could they have avoided the fate of BlackBerry? What specific factor would have made them better off than BlackBerry, considering the results that they got with Windows Phone? I can't think of any.

In the end, neither one of them had a winning strategy. "So, why didn't they both just go with Android?", I hear you ask. I think the answer to that is also fairly obvious: in relative terms, Android would not have been a winning strategy for either of the former giants, because there was not enough to be gained to convince any board of directors. No one dreams of becoming the next HTC, because after BlackBerry everyone's really just waiting to hear the sad news from them. If you're a small Asian OEM then Android is the obvious choice, but for the business in which both Nokia and BlackBerry had significant competencies (meaning existing teams of experienced people), it would have been yet another uphill battle with less to win in the end.

I think the lesson here is that you can't simply re-enter the market you've been pushed out of by competitors that changed the game by trying to adapt to the new rules they've set. You'd need to invent a whole new market and disrupt your very own disruptors. Just building a slightly better OS won't get you anywhere, nor will adopting a different OS.
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