“Microsoft Nokia”? Yeah, that’s really a thing. Or, rather, it will be soon.
Microsoft dropped two bombs in the past day, both of which weren’t really surprising as so much wholeheartedly bold. Firstly, they’ve announced that they are to purchase the Devices and Services part of Nokia (and the leasing the associated patents, as well), meaning that Nokia phones will ostensibly become the sole property of Microsoft. More surprising is that with that merger, CEO of Nokia and former Microsoft Business Division Head Stephen Elop may be tapped to become Steve Ballmer’s successor when he retires later this year.
MS is ready to drop $7.2 billion on Nokia’s phone division, and they estimate that the acquisition should be completed early next year. At that time, Nokia’s 32,000 phone division employees will be transferred to Microsoft, who currently has over 99,000 employees of their own. These moves are certainly reflective of Ballmer’s ‘One Microsoft’ realignment, which aims to change Microsoft from being primarily a software provider of operating systems and applications to one that concentrates on devices and services.
With Microsoft’s spotty history in hardware, investors are polarized and are unsure if the purchase is gutsy or merely foolish. Some think this was their plan since Elop left MS to work at Nokia, even saying that Elop was a “Trojan Horse” brought into the company to essentially turn them into a distribution tool for the Windows Phone platform. If this is indeed true, I tip my hat to Microsoft. Well played, well played. Of course, not everybody agrees that it was a “good” move. Much of the Finnish tech media is upset of the loss of one of the last major European tech superpower companies.
Nearly 8 million Windows Phones were sold last year, 78% of those being Nokia Lumias. Microsoft knows on which side their bread is buttered. During Tuesday’s announcement, Ballmer said, “Now is the time to build on this momentum and accelerate it further. Finland will become the hub and center for our phone R&D and we are counting very much on the incredible talent of Nokia employees to be a key part of driving and propelling Microsoft forward.”
It remains to be seen what this purchase will truly mean for the future. As a user of a Windows Phone, I’d love to see this increase the marketshare and bring the OS into the hands of more users. I won’t go so far as to say that the OS is “a breath of fresh air,” but for me, it is definitely closer to what I’m looking for in terms of performance and features.
The mobile phone and tablet market is hot right now, so the Nokia purchase couldn’t have come at a better time. Do you think this big move will help bring Microsoft to the forefront of mobile technology, or is it already too late?
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