Nokia Worse With Intel Inside

Last Updated Jun 23, 2009 8:32 PM EDT

In a classic case of two big companies, each with its own set of dysfunctional business units and competing products, smashing into each other like particles in a Large Hadron Collider in the hopes of discovering the meaning of life, Nokia and Intel have decided to throw in their chips together.

In the feverish delusion of the executives who cooked up this Frankenstein's supercomputing boondoggle, the planned partnership between their respective chip and wireless handheld device businesses is supposed to

marry the best features and capabilities of the computing and communications worlds and ... transform the user experience, bringing incredible mobile applications and always on, always connected wireless Internet access in a user-friendly pocketable form factor.
In reality, though, there are more things wrong with this partnership than are dreamt of in Nintel's (or is it Intokia's) philosophy. To begin with, there's the problem of a multitude of operating systems: they already have three mobile operating systems between them -- Intel's Moblin, Nokia's Meamo and, of course, Symbian, the open source OS sponsored by Nokia which is only the world's most popular mobile OS. I'm betting these geniuses decide to scuttle Symbian -- keeping it would be just too easy.

Then there's this whole next-generation wireless network thing: Nokia is on board with Long-Term Evolution (LTE), while Intel has embraced WiMAX. Maybe they'll support both, but it's just as likely they'll come up with a third, proprietary network called Lie-MAX.

And as one former Intel executive noted, the chip maker's organizational DNA is rooted in the ancient world of CPUs and PCs and may well "drag down an organization that is already struggling to keep ahead of the innovation curve... The last thing they need is grandpa Intel's inputs in a brainstorming session on the future of mobile -- just as I don't go to my grandfather for tips on how to be part of the 'in' crowd."

Finally, there's that whole culture thing. Not the Silicon Valley versus Finland culture, but the whole who's the center of the universe thing. Intel thinks from the "inside out" (I wish I could take credit for that pun), while Nokia has prided itself on being relatively attuned to customer needs. It's always been a direct-to-end-user company, while Intel's only exposure to customer relationships is making a little jingle played at the end of PC commercials.

The result is less likely to be worthy of particle physics and more like the result of a Slap-Chop.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

  • Michael Hickins

    Michael Hickins has written about technology and business for BNET, InformationWeek, InternetNews.com, eWEEK -- where he was executive editor from 2007-2008 -- The Curator, Pseudo.com, Multex Investor, Reuters, and Conde Nast's WWD.com. Hickins is the author of The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing, a collection of short stories published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991. He also published Blomqvist, a picaresque novel set in 11th century Europe, in 2006. Hickins remains passionately interested in the intersections of business, technology, politics and culture, and endures a life-long obsession with baseball. He is married with two children and lives in Manhattan.