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Nokia rejects Android, sticking with Symbian and MeeGo

nokia n8Despite strong signs that it is going the wrong way, Nokia will continue to go it alone. Stephen Elop, the company’s new CEO, will not create phones running Google’s Android operating system, reports the Wall Street Journal. Instead, it will rely on its new Symbian v3 and MeeGo operating systems for its devices. Elop’s reason: Android doesn’t allow innovation.

“Frankly, some of these alternatives in the market are not necessarily providing a lot of opportunity for innovation, and that is what we hear from people who are using those platforms at the moment,” he said in an interview. (Nokia’s new N8 phone is a mirror of Android phones.)

In recent years, Nokia has spent billions trying to keep up with other platforms. In 2007, it spent $8.1 billion to purchase Navteq, a company that competes with Google Maps. It’s also spent a good deal of time and money into its own app store and set of services called “Ovi,” which has seen much less support from the app community than Android and iPhone.

If it were to give up its platform, the phone maker would be forced to rely on superficial enhancements (like Motorola Blur or HTC Sense) to differentiate its software from the rest of the smartphone pack and retain its #1 sales position worldwide. However, by using Symbian or its new MeeGo OS, Nokia risks further alienating its smartphones from consumers and developers, who are piling onto iOS/Android-like operating systems by the bundle.

Nokia has lost 8 percent of its smartphone market share in the last year, falling from 44.6 percent to 36.6 percent of the market while Android and iOS rose significantly and the trend continues to worsen. Nokia has virtually no presence in the United States, one of the world’s largest smartphone markets. It cut 1,800 jobs in October.

Is Nokia making the right move? Have you used Symbian and prefer it?