There is a rumour going around that Microsoft and Nokia are courting each other. A partnership would make perfect sense. Microsoft and Nokia are both loosing the battle for the Smartphone / Tablet market. Apple iPhone is the cream of the crop, with a far superior product. Android is rapidly gaining market share because it more or less does what iPhone does (without the finesse, style, and class) but at a much lower price tag. These top two are followed at a distance by Nokia and Microsoft. Nokia still has a name and significant market share. But its on death row with its hopeless Symbian Operating System. Its having its head shaved and soaped without making as much as a peep. Their Symbian OS has little developer support. In fact little support at all. But Nokia still has market share. Significant market share.
At the same time, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is too far behind and not significantly better enough to really bridge the gap to Apple and Android. It works, but that’s about it. That said, Microsoft has a significant developer community behind it. And developing for Windows Phone 7 is going to be easier for most developers then developing for Apple or Android. But there is no significant market.
Now take Microsoft Windows Phone 7 with its huge Microsoft developer community and marry that to a still powerful mobile brand name with still significant market share, and, hey presto, you have a serious contender. A serious number 3 that with the right moves could potentially do some damage. Sure, it might anger some of Microsoft’s hardware partners. But none of them are committed to Microsoft themselves? Samsung does it with anybody and messes with just about any OS, including its own self made ‘Bada’ OS. Surely a strong and loyal partnership with Nokia might be worth it for Microsoft.
Microsoft could buy Nokia, or it could simply ‘incentivize‘ them. Microsoft is still a huge cash machine, and sitting on a sickeningly large pile of cash. Steve Ballmer has been known to spend money on sillier things (Search and online ads for example). But who knows, maybe it doesnt even have to go that far.
I for one believe the Smartphone/tablet market is strategic to Microsoft. And one that it has ignored for a long time. Seeing the development of Microsoft share value in the last 12 years its not like the stock market is overly excited by Microsoft’s ‘Vision’.
So its really time for Steve Ballmer to do something. Crack open the wallet and spend where it matters….