Nokia CEO responds to Google VP’s “two turkeys” tweet, clarifies WP7 strategy

Two days before the Nokia-Microsoft alliance was announced, Google’s Vic Gundotra attacked the two companies by tweeting that “two turkeys do not make an Eagle.”  Now Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop has responded with a tweet saying “two bicycle makers from Dayton Ohio, one day decided to fly”– referencing the Wright brothers.

Separately, Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer provided some more details on the deal.  The arrangement is not exclusive– Microsoft will continue to work with other phone manufacturers on Windows Phone 7, though Nokia will get some “unique” benefits out of the deal.  When asked if Nokia would be able to customize “everything” on Windows Phone 7 (unlike current WP7 licensees), Elop said yes, but clarified that Nokia was unlikely to do so, as it preferred maintaining full compatibility across the Windows Phone platform.

Read on for more details.

WP7 will become Nokia’s primary smartphone OS, but the company will continue to ship Symbian phones for the next several months and will probably continue the Series 40 platform for non-smartphones beyond that.  It will also ship one MeeGo phone this year, but “not as part of another broad smarpthone platform strategy, but as an opportunity to learn.” (for what it’s worth, Intel says it’s still committed to MeeGo, which was created as the merger of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin Linux)  Nokia expects to significantly cut its R&D spending but boost productivity.

Elop said Nokia did have discussions with Google about Android but felt it “would have difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem” and the “commoditization risk was very high — prices, profits, everything being pushed down, value being moved out to Google which was concerning to us.”  Nokia felt it could play a more significant role in the high-end smartphone arena by throwing its considerable weight behind Microsoft’s upstart OS and turning it into a “three-horse race” between Android, Windows Phone, and the iPhone.

Asked about Tablets, Elop said Nokia could go with Microsoft’s strategy in that space or pursue its own technology.

To close on an amusing and somewhat related note, John Biggs of CrunchGear just tweeted:

I’m glad the Nokia/Microsoft deal solved the Egypt crisis.

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