The Upcoming Showdown Between Google and Nokia

4:45 pm PHT

Google versus Nokia? Any significant competition between these two companies was an unlikely thing a year ago since one is primarily known as an Internet service company and the other a mobile hardware company, two very different but complementary industries. Well, the events of the past several months proved that things are coming to a head and Google is now in a market battle with Nokia. If you recall, several local bloggers got to talk with Nokia Philippines last May and it was revealed that Nokia wants to venture into the online content service industry, which brings it near to Google’s territory.

One thing I forgot to mention in my post about Nokia is that I asked William, the General Manager for Nokia Philippines, regarding Nokia’s plans for Google’s Android initiative (previous vaes9 post). I asked this since they claim that they wholly support open source and Android is supposed to be an open-source mobile phone application platform. Well, William said that they did not have any plans of supporting Android and that they’ll stick with Symbian OS. I then quipped that Symbian is proprietary technology and William rebutted that Symbian is open source. Not wanting to argue further, I held my peace since I wasn’t quite sure at that time.

I guess the claim that Symbian is open source was actually a foreshadowing of Nokia’s announcement last June 24 to buy the rest of the Symbian shares and to create the Symbian Foundation. This move has the aim of making Symbian an open-source platform by 2010. No wonder Nokia is spurning Android—they have their own grand plans! (And I was right that Symbian was proprietary. Hah!)

Coming at the heels of Nokia’s Symbian news, the regulators at the European Commission has approved Nokia’s acquisition of Navteq last week on July 2. (The Nokia-Navteq deal was also discussed in my previous post). Interestingly, a couple of days before that, Google signed a five-year agreement with Navteq’s main competitor Tele Atlas with an expanded content-sharing deal. Previously, Google had been sourcing the mapping data it uses for Google Maps from both Navteq and Tele Atlas and it seems (though I could be wrong) that Google has now prioritized Tele Atlas instead of Navteq.

There you go. The stage is set for a showdown between Nokia and Google on both the mobile platform front (Android vs. Symbian) and the mapping front (Tele Atlas and Google Map Maker vs. Navteq). I admire both Nokia and Google and this sort of competition between the two would surely bring good things. Though I wish that I had the time to develop mobile applications (since I’m sure mobile is the next big thing), I’m definitely interested on the mapping developments.

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