A MeeGo timeline: What led up to today's Microsoft/Nokia partnership?

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Today the landscape changed for open source and smartphones when Microsoft and Nokia announced a partnership making Windows Phone 7 the platform for Nokia smartphones. For those who don't follow the mobile device industry (and perhaps just learned the word "MeeGo" this morning), or for those who are just trying to keep track, here's a timeline of what happened leading up to today's announcement:

Nov. 2005: First version of Maemo platform, based on Debian, released by Nokia for smartphones and tablets

July 2007: Intel launched Moblin.org, short for "mobile Linux," for an operating system and stack for mobile devices

April 2009: Intel turned Moblin over to the Linux Foundation

Feb. 2010: Intel and Nokia hold press conference at Mobile World Congress to say Maemo and Moblin would merge into MeeGo

April 2010: James Reinders of Intel explains the project, "Microsoft hasn't been quite as aggressive as we might have hoped at supporting Atom, especially in the embedded space and that's why we came up with our platform Moblin - which is now MeeGo."

May 2010: MeeGo 1.0 released

Sept. 2010: Stephen Elop, formerly of Microsoft (and before that Juniper Networks and Adobe) joins Nokia as president and CEO

Sept. 2010: Anssi Vanjoki, EVP and GM of Mobile Solutions at Nokia, announces he's leaving the company

Oct. 2010: Ari Jaaksi, VP of Nokia's MeeGo Devices, resigns

Feb. 9, 2011: Nokia kills plan for MeeGo smartphone; speech leaks in which Chief Executive Stephen Elop compares Nokia to a man considering jumping off a burning oil platform

Feb. 10, 2011: Nokia creates separate divisions for Smart Devices and Mobile Phones; Mobile Solutions head Alberto Torres steps down from management

Feb. 11, 2011

  • Microsoft and Nokia announce partnership making Windows Phone 7 the platform for Nokia smartphones
  • Intel says that they see MeeGo as more than just a phone OS, will continue to support it; "While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source."
  • Reports come that 1,000+ employees may have walked out of Nokia offices in Finland
  • (Nokia states that they are simply taking advantage of flextime benefits after a major announcement)

Mobile World Congress starts in Barcelona in three days. Reports indicate that:

  • Elop and Steve Ballmer will present on the details of the new Microsoft/Nokia deal
  • Nokia will talk about the future of MeeGo
  • Intel will demonstrate where MeeGo is being used in segments outside of smartphones and on MeeGo's ecosystem of support

Additions or corrections? Leave comments below.

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Alex H's picture

Anyone reading this might think the MeeGo project has just been steaming along happily all these years. But they moved from a Debian-based system to an RPM-based on, they abandoned all the Gtk+ work they did when they bought Qt, and released a series of products (770, 800, 900) that were essentially incompatible with each other.

It's not like MeeGo was this world-beater about to be unleashed on everyone; its history is of slow development reset multiple times around different ideas, and even there were multiple phones available right now, how many app developers are really going to write stuff for a single company's handsets?

I really dislike the idea of them abandoning MeeGo for Windows Phone, but it's not like they didn't have real problems.

Andrej's picture

When we all thought that Microsoft would finally die when it comes to mobile phone and mobile computing landscape (no wonder since their software is such a big pile of crap) here comes Nokia with Microsoft's Trojan horse (Elop) and gives Microsoft more chance to screw us all over. Are we really doomed to suffer Microsofts harming monopoly everywhere? Instead of the world becoming technologically better and more free/open with MeeGo, we get just the opposite. Very sad. all just seams to me like a sabotage from Microsoft. I would even go so far as to ask for an investigation from European Institutions for consumer and market protection.

Truble's picture

Except that what you say would be entirely baseless. Microsoft has no monopoly in the smartphone market. 2% of market share is far, far away from anything resembling a "monopoly". Sadly, you fail to understand the importance of If anything, you should be criticizing Apple, not Microsoft, because of their dominant, closed-wall business. And you should be decried for attempting to stifle competition in the market by proposing the Microsoft should get out.

The smartphone market is currently dominated by Android and Apple. The introduction of Windows Phone 7 along with the tie-up with Nokia gives it a good chance to being a true competitor to the other offerings out there. The last time I checked, consumers benefited from more competition, not less.

The fact that Microsoft dominates the PC industry has little relevance to the smartphone industry, and a triopoly is still better more competitive than a duopoly. If you want FOSS technologies, there is always Android, with its firm roots in Linux. Android will remain the largest competitor, but as with all good business environments, the presence of iOS and Windows Phone 7 will help keep it on its toes.

Anonymous App Developer's picture

Competition is good; it's far better when all competitors are open systems.
Multiple competing closed systems only provide more opportunities to make bad choices; not real, positive, market-enhancing, competition.
MeeGo, WebOS, and Android form a great triad of options and alternatives. Each of these open systems has a vastly different view of what a mobile experience should be, and they would have created a diverse and vibrant ecosystem to counterbalance the drone mentality that drives people to use the walled-garden systems.
By killing MeeGo (and make no mistake, this is their way of killing it as a smartphone platform) Nokia have chosen to reduce competition and embrace a me-too closed walled-off system that reduces choice and harms real competition.
If this strategic shift had any positive for consumers then Nokia would be including QT on their WindowsPhone 7 handsets as a means of allowing app developers to develop for multiple platforms more effectively (right now the absence of QT on the proprietary platforms creates much waste and rework for mobile app developers). The exclusion of that toolkit sends a very clear "Choice is not Welcome" message and signals the intent to reduce or eliminate any real choice for consumers saddled with Nokia's future "smart" handsets by further restricting the availability of great mobile applications to a subset of platforms, rather than using the leverage of this deal to enable more competition.

Unidentified's picture

"Except that what you say would be entirely baseless. Microsoft has no monopoly in the smartphone market."

They used their mole to destroy GNU/Linux strategy of competing company. MeeGo is not only phone OS, it is for netbooks too. Microsoft has monopoly there, and they got it by blackmailing OEMs to drop GNU/Linux. They used their mole to remove competitive threat and hijack a company for peanuts. If this goes through without trial, no company is safe. Consider what they've done to Novell.

What if they tomorrow kidnap CEO of Red Hat and replace him with their mole that looks same as him? And he signs capitulation like this? It could really happen. If Elop goes unpunished, why wouldn't Microsoft try to destroy more companies? They will be stupid not to do it. In fact, they already done that to SGI, Yahoo!, and probably some others too. No company is safe if Elop don't get arrested and if Microsoft don't get investigated for this. Elop just cost a lot of Fins for their jobs, and Finish economy will go into recession when Nokia goes under. And he still has Microsoft shares. That is illegal. He is pumping shares of his old company by destroying the company he is supposed to work for.

Unidentified's picture

The last major European technology company sold. Less European software engineers, fewer jobs in Europe. The market sharks have sold our entire industry and science to the world. The rules of the market ...

Sorry for my harsh words, another unemployed technician.

heater's picture

Truble said:

>> Microsoft has no monopoly in the smartphone market.
>> 2% of market share is far, far away from anything resembling a "monopoly".

Perhaps but I suggest one forgets this "smartphone" idea. My thesis is that a smart phone is a computer, like a PC or laptop or netbook or tablet. Just smaller and with phone hardware on board. A computer is a computer is a computer.

MS has a clear monopoly. QT + KDE + X11 + Linux is in clear competition with MS in all areas of "computer".

Clearly MS having control of Qt, being able to stifle it in all the other classes of computer where it is used is a monopoly situation that should be prevented.

The European commission should investigate this.