Monday, September 2, 2013

The other Microsoft/Nokia shoe has been dropped

Microsoft has completed a deal to acquire Nokia.

Who wasn't expecting this since ex-Microsoft employee Steven Elop took the reins at Nokia?

It all dates back to 2007 when people at Nokia and Research in Motion/BlackBerry laughed at Apple entering the mobile phone space, and not being prepared for something different.

Sure, Nokia had phones like the N95, but they didn't have a clue to making a smooth user experience.  All the internal elegance is lost on non-technical users.  RIM practically made the smart phone work for the business user and virtually made addicts of its users.  When services were down, CrackBerry users were lost.

Apple changed the game, putting Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry to minimal market share.  Of course, time has passed, Windows Mobile was trashed and poor, little Zune became the base for Windows Phone.  RIM/BlackBerry has been re-invented with the injection of the QNX operating system that ran on the IBM PC in the early 1980s.  Symbian has been pushed from the high end devices to some middle ground, and Windows Phone took over at Nokia.

After the Android operating system arrived, Nokia and BlackBerry were pushed down further.

Do I feel bad for Nokia?  I suppose so.  They were a great success story, even more than Japanese companies' success.  Given that Finland is probably the least understood European nation, it makes me smile that success came from a country with a most interesting language.  Finnish, like Estonian and Hungarian are in a different world.  Finland has a Swedish population but it's not big enough to change everyone from Finnish.

Will Nokia die?

Given the odd life of Windows Mobile (Pocket PC, etc.) and what Microsoft did to Danger and its Sidekick devices and how they approached and discarded Kin devices, I have my doubts about success for Windows Phone and Nokia devices.

They have the opportunity to really integrate legally (not that they weren't doing that already with their earlier deal--it will be above boards now) and show the world how good Windows Phone can be.  However, this deal should kill any remaining devices from HTC et al.  They weren't too happy to do them anyway, but at this point, the lack of sales will translate to Microsoft/Nokia devices only.

The good thing about this is that Nokia employees will be more secure.  Microsoft has deep pockets and can lose money and not care.

I recently noticed that Microsoft has an interest in Pandora, as well.  A "former" Microsoft executive is taking the CEO position at Pandora now.  Microsoft has a deal to provide radio services to Windows Phone, but I wonder if they're being groomed for integration with Microsoft.

Update 2013.12.06: It looks as though the authorities in the U.S.A. are okay with Nokia becoming part of Microsoft.

Update 2014.10.28: The other day I saw a photo of a Nokia phone with Microsoft branding, instead of Nokia.  I'm sure the people in Finland (half-)expected this but it is tough pill to swallow.

I'm still wondering if Pandora, the music service, is going this way since they signed a big deal with Microsoft a while back.  It seems to me that a Microsoft executive hired on there, as similarly as Steven Elop did at Nokia, to bring them into the fold.

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