Today I had a group of developers over from Finland and we headed to the Ritz for some interviews and drinks. Finland, you know as the land of Nokia’s headquarters. These entrepreneurs should be Nokia fanboys through and through, but what I heard from them was stunning.
A bunch of them are here with the Startup Sauna (a Y Combinator style incubator) and are touring VC firms and others this week in Silicon Valley. I’ll have the videos of their companies up later, but in between videos I talked with them off camera about development trends and what they are doing to build their businesses.
They were brutal on Nokia and Microsoft. Only one of the seven companies said they were developing apps for Windows Phone 7 and even that one said “we might as well, we already built apps for every other platform.”
Things were even worse for Nokia. Not a single company was building for Symbian. But you should have heard what they said about Blackberry. They thought there was no future for Blackberry. Not a single company was considering building for Blackberry.
So, what were they excited by? Well, when you see the videos you’ll see that they are bigger Apple fanboys and girls than Techcrunch’s MG Siegler. They also said that they are building apps for Android, but only after they nail the iOS apps.
I told them that their indictment matches those that I’ve heard from other places in the world and that the apps I’ve seen on Windows Phone 7 (I’m doing a review of that vs. Android’s latest) really suck compared to iOS.
I have no idea how Microsoft will get back in the game. At one point they asked me what I would do to get Microsoft back in the game? I told the group:
Double down on Xbox. Do an Xbox portable. Get rid of the Windows brand name (it makes no sense, because the Windows Phone 7 doesn’t run Windows apps anyway and it isn’t working with developers either and THEY ARE IN CHARGE!)
They all agreed that Xbox is cool and Windows is not.
That, alone, says volumes about Microsoft’s mobile strategy. Memo to Steve Ballmer: your strategy isn’t working in Finland. That should scare the crap out of you.