Intel and MeeGo: Nowhere To Go?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on February 23, 2011

Intel has every reason to be pissed with Nokia after the latter eloped with Microsoft last week to create a new mobile ecosystem. Symbian has been widely regarded as a sinking ship in the last couple of years but Nokia’s sudden switch in loyalties has surely left MeeGo’s future in jeopardy.

Intel, though says it’s committed to MeeGo and will “find another partner” in its quest to build an open mobile ecosystem. MeeGo was created last year amidst massive media hype by the merger of Nokia and Intel’s Linux-based platforms Maemo and Moblin.

However, it has been a slow starter and unless Intel can turn things around quickly, it is likely that MeeGo will always be remembered as the “mobile operating system that never was”.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini feels he’s been stabbed in the back by Nokia (and to an extent Microsoft as well). He went on record to say that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made the wrong decision by not opting for Google’s Android and that his choice of Microsoft was made largely because of an irresistible financial offer. While his frustration is understandable, the chip giant is better off moving on to revive its ambitious MeeGo project. Or else, MeeGo is already beginning to look like another Symbian in the making.

To be honest, Nokia was never fully committed to MeeGo. It chose a “Please All” approach which backfired for Symbian as well as MeeGo. IMO, if Intel can find a willing partner for MeeGo, the Nokia-Microsoft alliance may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. However, it needs to act quickly or else it would be too late. I gave it a deep thought but failed to come up with even a single name amongst smartphone makers who’d be willing to side with Intel in the MeeGo experiment. Perhaps, its best bet is to find another PC maker who’s keen to get a slice of the smartphone pie.

Interestingly, Nokia says it will retain the MeeGo OS as an open source project and use it as a basis of future new form factors. If having two mobile operating systems wasn’t bad enough, the Finnish smartphone giant now plans to add another lesser-known species (WinPho7) to the mix. Old habits die hard.

On the other hand, Intel seems to be falling out of favor with Microsoft as well. Otellini’s recent remarks surely won’t please Steve Ballmer & company. Though the two companies have together dominated the PC business for more than 20 years, Microsoft set a few alarm bells ringing when it announced that the next version of Windows would run on chip designs made by Intel rival ARM.

To say that MeeGo’s future looks uncertain would be a gross understatement. Unfortunate as it is, the ground reality at the moment is Intel Inside, Nokia Outside and MeeGo Nowhere!

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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