By Adam Doud | July 2, 2013 7:00 AM
Windows Phone needs something. It is slowly climbing the ranks of smartphone market share. It has recently put Blackberry in its rear view mirror. Of course this isn’t really all that impressive. Many people have put Blackberry in their rear view mirrors. But the latest numbers have Windows Phone at somewhere between 4 – 5%. Meh.
Nokia needs something. Nokia leads the charge in Windows Phone production and evangelism. Arguably, their Lumia line of phones is top notch in many categories – hardware construction, building materials, and camera to name a few. But it has sold their headquarters building and have lost ground on their home turf of Finland. Meh.
Microsoft needs something. The Surface is a fine piece of hardware. I tweeted the other day that I could easily see a Surface Pro becoming a feasible laptop replacement. This is something that not even an iPad can really boast. But sales are slow, and worse, Microsoft still has to count on other OEMs to get Windows Phone out the door and into hand of consumers. Meh.
I think it’s time we do something about that.
Microsoft should buy Nokia
Nokia is in trouble. This is no secret. A lot hinges on its line of top-tier phones including the Lumia 920, Lumia 925, Lumia 928, and the Lumia “whatever is coming out next week”. Each phone has had its very own press events with much hoopla and celebration. The numbers have been climbing slowly, but surely. But let’s face it, when you’re having garage sales just to pay the electric bill, you’re not exactly in the “Fundamentally sound” column of the financial spreadsheet. Nokia might be in the black now, but once it goes and buy a single black pen, it’ll be back in the red.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s problems are two-fold. On the one hand, it’s trying really hard to wedge itself onto the mobile electronics bus, but all the seats are taken. So they partnered up with Nokia to try and get some butts in the seats. They have a tablet on the market, but sales are lukewarm at best. Microsoft still has no phone of its own to speak of, and Nokia might just be what is missing.
Apple is currently the only smartphone manufacturer that has one hundred percent control over everything on its devices, from the operating system it runs right down to the color on the bottom of its processor. Microsoft could leverage a similar opportunity and become a second Apple in that respect.
If you want it done right…
Right now you’re thinking, “But wait, dummy. Microsoft could do that anyway. They can make their own phone.” Sure. But that takes us to the second on Microsoft’s problems. Nokia has something that Microsoft does not. Nokia has a name and a long-reaching reputation for quality phones reaching back to the days before smartphones. That brand recognition, backed by Microsoft’s money and marketing leverage, could go a long way toward putting phones and tablets into the hands of a lot of people.
A buyout by Microsoft would allow Microsoft to have the control they need from start to finish (no pun intended) in smartphone production. Plus they get the bonus of Nokia’s name, recognition and expertise in a space into which Microsoft has barely stuck its toe. This all could mean big things for both companies. Nokia could stop treading water and watching the sharks circle, and Microsoft could make a big splash (yes, another water metaphor) that would generate a lot of press, a lot of buzz, and a lot of excitement. And the really nice part is, unlike offering a brand new product they make themselves, they’d already have smartphones pouring out of the production line.
Stop the madness
The alternative is to potentially watch Nokia sell off their remaining assets just to push another smartphone out of the gate. They’d better hope its successful because truthfully, it would likely be Nokia’s last ditch effort at a winner. They can only give so much blood before those checks start to run out, free cookies or no. The Asha won’t save Nokia either. It’s pretty much EOS or bust for our Finnish friends. Unless Microsoft can seize the opportunity and thrust itself into the smartphone space by standing atop Nokia’s well-worn shoulders. It’s really a perfect solution all around.
Microsoft and Nokia just need to stop spooning, and make with the love already.