* CEO says Nokia made wrong decision on Microsoft tie-up
* Says decision was financially motivated
* Says will look for new MeeGo partners
* Dismisses ARM’s prospects in servers (Adds further comments on PC outlook, ARM competition)
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Intel Corp (INTC.O) said its partner Nokia dropped the MeeGo operating system after Microsoft offered “incredible” amounts of money for the phonemaker to switch to Windows but it would find new partners for MeeGo.
Intel’s Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a meeting with analysts in London, accessed by Reuters via conference call, that Nokia’s NOK1V.HE choice of Microsoft (MSFT.O) over Google’s (GOOG.O) Android platform was a financial decision. [ID:nLDE71A0DG]
Otellini said Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop received “incredible offers -- money” from Google and Microsoft to switch.
“I wouldn’t have made the decision he made, I would probably have gone to Android if I were him,” he said. “MeeGo would have been the best strategy but he concluded he couldn’t afford it.”
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.
Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday that he had held extensive talks to try to woo Nokia. [ID:nLDE71F026]
Otellini said Nokia would find it hard to differentiate using the Windows platform: “It would have been less hard on Android, on MeeGo he could have done it.”
“We will find another partner. The carriers still want a third ecosystem and the carriers want an open ecosystem, and that’s the thing that drives our motivation,” he said.
MeeGo was created last year by the merger of Nokia and Intel’s Linux-based platforms Maemo and Moblin. [ID:nLDE61E0Z2]
Otellini said in Barcelona that open systems had the edge over closed systems: “Some closed models will certainly survive, because you can optimise the experience, but in general, if you harness the ability of all the engineers in the world and the developers in the world, open wins.” [ID:nLDE71F1II]
In his meeting with analysts on Thursday, Otellini tackled head on what he said was the elephant in the room: the rise of tablets at the expense of PCs.
“(The view that) ‘PCs are dead and tablets are going to eat our lunch and there’s no growth in the PC market’, let me just say ‘bunk’ to that,” he said.
Last year was one of the strongest growth years ever for PC unit sales with a 17 percent rise, he said, and Intel forecasts unit growth in the low double-digits again this year driven by notebook sales in emerging markets.
Intel’s chips, which generally have high power but are energy hungry, have not yet found a use in mobile phones or tablets, where manufacturers favour chip’s designed by British firm ARM ARM.L.
Otellini said one problem with the perceived Intel versus ARM battle was that there was no ARM, in the sense that ARM’s chips were made by 1,200 licensees.
“There’s no architecture consistency,” he said. “It is a big expensive, hard job to create persistence in your architecture over multiple generations: that’s what we do exceptionally well.”
He also dismissed ARM’s prospects in the server market. The British company has said some of its chipmaker partners are working on processors for servers, and products could be on the market in five years. [ID:nLDE69421E]
“I don’t see anytime soon ARM having the software capability, the computer architecture, the transistor performance to be able to become a factor in servers,” Otellini said. “AMD AMD.N is much more potent as a server competitor than the ARM guys ever will be.” (Editing by Mark Potter and David Cowell)