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Nokia CEO: Blame Apple for Android's Success

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The further Nokia sinks, the more outspoken CEO Stephen Elop becomes.

Back in February, Elop sent out that infamous company-wide memo stating that Nokia "poured gasoline on our own burning platform." In April, Moody's downgraded its rating of the company's debt and announced a substantial layoffs within its research and development workforce. And today -- a little more than a week since Nokia slashed its sales forecast and CTO Richard Green departed the company on a "personal leave of absence" through the end of the year -- he spoke at the Open Mobile Summit in London and laid out the smartphone industry as he sees it.

And no punches were pulled.

Elop commended the ground Apple has made with its flagship iPhone. However, it wasn't without a dig. He believes that Apple, in fact, created Android by remaining closed.

"Apple in 2007 introduced a high water mark in terms of saying, 'This is what users expect.' But Apple did this in a very Apple way. It was closed."

He continued, "Apple created Android, or at least it created the conditions necessary to create Android. People decided they could not play in the Apple way, and they had to do something else. Then Google stepped in there and created Android, and others jumped on the Android train."

Elop illustrated the two ecosystems as two cardboard boxes. Apple, of course, is closed and sealed. Google is open, but the flaps on top adjust depending on the company's whims.

"Google's open box still has flaps, and we don't know what those flaps will do." Adding, "If you counted the number of lines in Android code, you might get a different perspective on how open it really is."

The Nokia chief further criticized Google's platform by addressing Android's fragmentation. Remarking on how Android products look and act the same, Elop said, "If it's too hard to differentiate on a platform, commoditization steps in. But then differentiation starts to creep back in through fragmentation." He compared it to his work with Adobe Flash back when it was a Macromedia product. "When [Adobe CTO] Kevin [Lynch] and I were out flogging Flash and talking to DoCoMo, J2ME had already fractured into 70 different variations."

Elop also spoke about the company's work with Windows Phone devices, claiming that they "score better than Android and iPhone with consumers, but OEMs are doing their best work for Android." He hopes to turn Nokia's downward trajectory with a friendly relationship with operators and developers, comparing it to that of Apple and Google. "Apple has a certain relationship with operators. Google is feared by operators because of the revenue opportunity. Our strategy is to be as friendly to the operators as possible."

Considering the bleeding Nokia is currently suffering from, it's going to take more than a cordial rapport to climb out of the pit.

(See also: Nokia Goes from Bad to Worse and Nokia's Outlook Looks Pretty Grim)

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