Microsoft & Nokia – digging a deeper hole

Microsoft & Nokia – digging a deeper hole

General Manager at Four J’s Development Tools

When I saw the news of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia, it felt like I was a witness to a ‘shotgun’ wedding. A wedding arranged to avoid embarassement – two desperate souls looking for solace, searching for happiness by emulating the success of their peers – namely Apple’s vertical integration model.

My immediate reaction was – this changes nothing. Why? First, the reasons for Apple’s success run deeper than their vertical integration model. Second, Microsoft has spent over $5Bn over the last 2.5 years trying to punt Windows Phone to consumers in exchange for a 3% market share. It also wrote off $900M of inventory trying to punt Surface to consumers. They have failed miserably on both counts. The PC industry is driven by business. The mobile industry by consumers. And Microsoft doesn’t ‘get’ consumers. Remember Zune?

Microsoft dominates the world of business, but there is little in its value proposition for the consumer. And Nokia isn’t going to change that. They lost their leadership mantle when Apple launched iPhone and never recovered. This arrangement will only serve to alienate its OEMs and push Windows Phone even further south.

It seems that the mobile platform war is over and Apple, with Google have won. HTML5 is a distant third.

So, what should Microsoft do? Something it will never do. It needs to ditch Windows Phone and develop products and services above Android and why not, iOS. Its ecosystem needs to evolve to provide new mobile services that consumers – not business – can get excited about. Consumers drive technology in the mobile space, which in turn drives the developer community to innovate. That developer community is predominantly Android, then iOS, then HTML5. It won’t develop for Windows Phone with a 3% market share. I don’t see the marriage with Nokia changing that figure substantially.

Microsoft won’t disappear – the PC is in decline, but sales are still ticking over at over 300 million units per year. But Microsoft will never dominate this mobile industry in the way it did the PC industry. And mobile is where all the action is – for at least the next 5 years.

This article written by Michael Vakulenko at VisionMobile explains this in more detail:

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices division is the new beginning for both Microsoft and Nokia. But how does it make…