Nokia and Microsoft is too late, too much, and too yesterday

Posted by Emory Kale
So, your brand barely floats in mobile and you need to find a way to refresh it, or reinvent it. So, you decide to buy another brand that finds itself in the same situation, mostly due to siding with you. Microsoft acquiring Nokia is like geezers marrying each other because they could use the company.
 
Nothing that Microsoft does seems to have any basis in a forward looking plan. It all seems to be desperately hanging on to the past and shunning anything bold or new. This is not the Microsoft of the 80s and 90s which was willing to torch everything in its path to make itself relevant in new markets.
 
When Microsoft took the Internet seriously, they killed off Netscape. When took gaming seriously, they gave themselves a place at the table with Sony and Nintendo. Hell, they've even managed to make Bing a better search engine.
 
Nokia controls 70% of Windows Phone market
 
When it comes to mobile - zilch, nada, nothing. They are relying on inertia. So it goes with  the purchase of Nokia's handset business and so it will go with the company's attempts to compete with Google and Apple.
 
Granted, Microsoft's pitch on why the purchase is good is compelling in a bean counter way:
 
  • The deal will pay for itself even at current business rates
  • Microsoft gets a whole lot of patents that it would have had to pay for anyhow
  • Microsoft had 70% of its mobile business on Nokia devices so, it gets to keep its place
  • Microsoft gets instant mobile device infrastructure and the guy running Nokia, Stephen Elop, is a former Microsoftie
Microsoft acquisition of Nokia provides transactional benefits to the company's bottom line

Courtesy of Microsoft

 
So, in on fell swoop, and at the risk of ticking off every other phone maker out there that could have been on Microsoft's bandwagon, the company gets to own its existing channels. It puts more of its own software on the devices, ties itself to a platform that it owns, and secures margins on sales to ensure the deal is accretive to its bottom line.
 
BUT, there is nothing in this deal that suggests either company has a vision beyond more of the same on Windows Phone. Nokia is, also, kind of like the Microsoft of the handset world. They ruled the world. They still have a lot of inertia on their side, but they never had anything to compete with Apple then Samsung then HTC then...... you get the picture.
 
IP acquisition is a typical reason for large companies to acquire tech businesses
 
Ultimately, this will just create more insularity for Microsoft and that means that they will continue to hope that Windows, Office and the same old, same old will carry over into a different form factor. Microsoft's strategy is vendor locking its consumers. You tell me, is that going to work in the modern era of mobile computing?
 
I doubt it.