More M&A: Microsoft buys Nokia

This one was almost obvious, it was simply a matter of “when”. Microsoft is trying to put some wood behind its Mobile OS arrow. No one seems to want it, save for the 41MP camera “phone”.

In the big picture, Microsoft saw the beginning of an erosion of its market power recently, as more people opted for mobile platforms, and fewer opted for PCs and laptops. There is a convenience and cost play going on at the same time.

Not to mention that you don’t really need to install software on your device, you can use apps “in the cloud” with a good web browser. Or a native client, talking to the same back end that the cloud apps talk.

So your need for Microsoft products was just diminished.

This has been brewing for a while. Cash cows can be ridden only for so long before you need to creatively destroy them.

iOS and Android did effectively this. Android is currently the most popular platform in the world for phones and tablets, with iPhone in second place. This is due in part to the customizability of Android, and the fact that Google hasn’t been (until recently) competing directly with its partners (via Motorola mobility).

You can’t get iOS on anything but an apple product. This has positives and negatives associated with it.

FWIW, I have an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5. My next phone will be an Android of some sort. Probably a Samsung of some flavor. I’ll keep the iPad until it dies then likely get an Android pad.

I’ve had, and liked, Nokia phones before. But they were the Symbian E61 and others. Fantastic units. But Mr. Elop killed off Symbian in favor of Windows. Which explains their earnings for the past multiple quarters. Now Nokia is all in on Windows phone platform, and losing market share slightly less fast than Blackberry.

Speaking of which, I would not be surprised to see IBM (or Dell, or Oracle) purchase them. Maybe not HP.

Microsoft was having trouble with adoption of the Windows phone. Non-Nokia platforms were reluctant to carry it, due in part to the tight binding between Nokia and Microsoft, and the fact that demand wasn’t simply soft for it, it was effectively non-existent. I expect that this announcement is pretty much the death knell for any non-Nokia based Windows phone or tablet.

The question is, will this acquisition bear fruit? Nokia makes (ignoring the software) great kit. I like their phones. I still miss the E61 I dropped in a cab in London some years ago.

But the OS does matter. And the Microsoft OS isn’t generating demand for the phones. Personally I think its the other way around, the phone has features and the OS is simply a bullet point. Its a way to make things work, but its not the reason you buy the thing. Its how well does it work with your stuff.

Blackberry had this nailed for years. Not sure if Nokia ever had it. With the online world getting more distributed, iOS and Android have this nailed now.

I don’t know if it will work, but Microsoft had to do something lest it lose in this space. And as this is the post PC space …

Really the market has bifurcated. I had thought it might tri-furcate, but I was wrong. You have mobile, and cloud. Even cloud is split between private and public, though as we’ve spoken to customers, unless there is a very strong reason to be in the public cloud, most folks want private ones on premises. Its these forces that are wreaking destruction upon the market, and creating a new one.

The name of the game is sink or swim. This is Microsoft realizing that it hasn’t been swimming, and attempting to start. The question is whether or not it will succeed.

No one cares about the OS on the mobile device. Everyone cares about the features, performance, ease of use, and cost. I’d be hard pressed to see Microsoft compete with iOS and Android on these, but, who knows. We’ll see.

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