Despite Nokia's decision to adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system in its mobile devices while pursuing its joint MeeGo venture with Intel on the side, Intel on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to the open-source MeeGo software platform.
Intel said it will make an announcement regarding the Linux MeeGo OS at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. It said its strategy in the mobile market was unchanged because Nokia was just one of its partners.
"While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel remains committed to MeeGo and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source," an Intel spokesman siad.
"Since day one, our strategy has always been to provide choice when it comes to operating systems, a strategy that includes Windows, Android, and MeeGo. This is not changing."
Intel said MeeGo will come to market inside different devices such as netbooks, tablets and smartphones.
"I think it’s important to note, MeeGo is not just a phone OS, it supports multiple devices," Intel's spokesperson said. "And we’re seeing momentum across multiple segments -- automotive systems, netbooks, tablets, set-top boxes and our Intel silicon will be in a phone that ships this year."
Intel will need to convince mobile device makers to adopt MeeGo despite Nokia's decision, which is leading an organisational shakeup that included the departure of Alberto Torres, Nokia's executive in charge of the platform.
Nokia has reportedly moved away from its original plans to develop several MeeGo devices in favor of a single MeeGo-based product launch later this year. Nokia discontinued the development of a MeeGo smartphone device it planned to launch this year.
Nokia's upcoming MeeGo N9 smartphone had a two-core 1.2 GHz Intel Atom CPU, with a 12-megapixel camera and support for LTE connectivity, to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2011.
Those plans may now be on hold. The report from Reuters on Wednesday cited two industry insiders as well as a leaked internal Nokia memo in which CEO Stephen Elop reportedly compared Nokia's prolonged anticipation for MeeGo to standing on a burning oil platform trying to decide whether to jump.
Nokia CEO said MeeGo fellsShort
"We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones," Elop wrote in the memo, according to The Financial Times. "However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market."
According to the memo, Nokia sees its lone upcoming MeeGo-based device as an experiment, part of its desire to explore other options aside from Windows Phone OS. Nokia declined to comment on the contents of the memo.
The MeeGo platform was created early last year from the merger of Nokia and Intel's Linux-based platforms Maemo and Moblin, with the goal of challenging Apple and Google in the high-end smartphone market.
However, on Friday during a press conference in London with Microsoft, CEO Steve Ballmer and Elop, Nokia and Microsoft unveiled a broad strategic alliance aimed at developing a mobile device ecosystem around Microsoft's Windows Phone software.
Nokia's decision to partner with Microsoft is part of a broader effort to turn its fortunes around. In May Nokia made sweeping changes to its organizational structure. Nokia brought in former Sun Microsystems executive Rich Green as its new CTO, and appointed Kai Oistamo chief development officer and head of Corporate Development, while re-organizing its business into three groups: Mobile Solutions, Mobile Phones and Markets.
Nokia began its partnership with Intel in 2009, but has not been able to bring a MeeGo-based Intel-powered phone to market since.
Intel and Nokia in August unveiled plans for a joint MeeGo research center in Finland tasked with developing 3D and virtual reality applications and improving user interfaces for mobile devices.
Intel in October pushed back the timeline for launching Nokia devices running MeeGo until 2011, but Intel said the two companies were still on track with their development of the MeeGo platform.