Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

Summary: At best, the apps created for a pending Nokia-Microsoft channel nee platform will be four down the list for native app support. More likely, HTML 5 and mobile web support (standards, not native) may prove enough to include the market Microsoft and Nokia muster together.

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Given what they are and where they have been, there's little logical reason for Microsoft not dominating the mobile smartphone computing landscape. And it should have been a done-deal in many global major markets at least four years ago.

The only reason that Microsoft is now partnering with Nokia on mobile -- clearly not the client giant's first and primary strategy on winning the market -- is because of a lack of execution. I surely recall speaking to Microsofties as many as 10 years ago, and they were all-in on the importance and imperative for mobile platforms. Windows CE's heritage is long and deep. Nokia just as well knew the stakes, knew the technology directions, knew the competition.

Now. In the above two paragraphs replace the words "Microsoft" and "Nokia." Still works. Both had huge wind in their sails (sales?) to steer into the mobile category for keeps, neigh to define and deliver the mobile category to a hungry world and wireless provider landscape ... on their, the platform-providers', terms!

So now here we have two respective global giants who had a lead, one may even say a monopoly or monopoly-adjacency, in mobile and platforms and tools for mobile. And now it is together and somehow federated -- rather than separately or in traditional OEM partnership -- that they will rear up and gallop toward the front of the mobile device pack -- the iOS, Android, RIM and HP-Palm pack. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

How exactly is their respective inability, Microsoft and Nokia, to execute separately amid huge market position advantages enhanced now by trying to execute in cahoots ... loosely, based mostly on a common set of foes? I'll point you to the history of such business alliances, often based on fear, and its not any better than the history of big technology mergers and acquisitions. It stinks. It stinks for end-users, investors, partners and employees.

But why not reward the leadership of these laggards with some more perks and bonuses? Works in banking.

A developer paradise

And talk about an ace in the hole. Not long ago, hordes of developers and ISVs -- an entire global ecosystem -- were begging Microsoft to show them the mobile way, how to use their Visual Studio skills to skin the new cat of mobile apps. They were sheep waiting to be lead (and not to slaughter). The shepherd, it turned out, was out to lunch. Wily Coyote, super genius.

And execution is not the only big reason these companies have found themselves scrambling as the world around them shifts mightily away. Each Microsoft and Nokia clearly had the innovators dilemma issues in droves. But these were no secret. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).

Microsoft had the fat PC business to protect, which as usual divided the company on how to proceed on any other course, Titantic-like. Nokia had the mobile voice business and mobile telecom provider channel to protect. So many masters, so many varieties of handsets and localizations to cough up. Motorola had a tough time with them one too. Yes, it was quite a distraction.

But again, how do these pressures to remain inert inside of older models change by the two giants teaming up? Unless they spin off the right corporate bits and re-assemble them together under a shared brand, and go after the market anew, the financial pressures not to change fast remain steadfast. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).

What's more there's no time to pull off such a corporate shell game. The developers are leaving (or left), the app store model is solidifying elsewhere, the carriers are being pulled by the end-users expectations (and soon enterprises). And so this Microsoft-Nokia mashup is an eighth-inning change in the line-up and there's no time to go back to Spring training and create a new team.

Too little, too late

Nope, I just can't see how these synergies signal anything but a desperation play. Too little, too late, too complex, too hard to execute. Too much baggage.

At best, the apps created for a pending Nokia-Microsoft channel nee platform will be four down the list for native app support. More likely, HTML 5 and mobile web support (standards, not native) may prove enough to include the market Microsoft and Nokia muster together. But that won't be enough to reverse their lackluster mobile position, or get them the synergies they crave.

Each Microsoft and Nokia were dark horses in the mobile devices and associated cloud services race. Attempting to hitch the two horses together with baling wire and press releases doesn't get them any kind of leg up on the competition. It may even hobble them for good. You may also be interested in:

Topics: CXO, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia

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11 comments
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  • Nokia is like SEVENTH Microsoft's "strategic mobile partner"

    Previous are in heaven (or, if you like, in hell).

    Will it work out this time?
    DDERSSS
  • I think it is a good match

    One thing about both of them, even though they stayed with what "was working" for a little too long, they both have the resources and the reputation to stay in the battle a very long time. Is Google going to prove to be a reliable partner that will stay in the battle a long time or will they be fickle and move onto the next big thing as soon as it presents itself? Who knows.
    oncall
  • Google get the cherries

    Seems that 1500 Symbian staff walked out in protest. Which means 1500 CVs off to Google soon. If Nokia can't empower it's own staff, Google certainly can.

    How exactly did Elop come to run Nokia anyway?
    guihombre
    • Are you kidding?

      @guihombre

      They walked off in protest? Talk about dumb, but maybe that reflects a deeper problem of "entitlement". I hope they don't expect to find a job waiting for them when they get back.
      oncall
    • To fill for those who left Google for Facebook?

      Yeah, Those 1500 would sure come in handy for Google, ain't they?
      LBiege
    • HAHAHHA The guys with the L's on their foreheads?

      if they cant evolve let them be googles burden...
      Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

      @guihombre

      Haha, oh noze, not Symbian staff! I'm sure Google will want developers responsible for engineering a completely unrelevant OS that had no chance of keeping pace with the big three.
      barrgg
  • Remember when linux had 100% netbook market share before that market was

    worthy of ms focus? This sounds like another article written by someone who hasnt used WP. Have you seen/used the WP apps? The hordes are still there and their appstore is growing at a phenomenal rate. but forget that it's growing orders of magnitude faster then android/apples did. Look at the app quality. Have you used open table, four square, cocktail flow, ap news, amazon, etc. ? These apps completely blow away the ios/android versions of themselves. WP was taking share without nokia, this just accelerates it and will grab even more mobile app mind share. More rpms for the virtuous cycle. In 2015 youll still be able to find android on the throw away prepaid disposable handsets but no one will be targeting those for apps...
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

    I can only assume you haven't used WP7, nor done any development with the system. Corporate fantasies aside, sophisticated, easy to use smartphones are now going to be available to a huge market.

    I suspect you are going to regret this post in a few months ;-)
    tonymcs@...
  • RE: Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

    The hordes are still there and their appstore is growing at a phenomenal rate. but forget that it's growing orders of magnitude faster then android/apples did. Look at the app quality. Have you used open table, four square, cocktail flow, ap news, amazon, etc.<a href="http://e-apostas.info">apostas desportivas</a>
    marco5811
  • RE: Some thoughts on the Microsoft and Nokia tag team on mobile or bust news

    Is Google going to prove to be a reliable partner that will stay in the battle a long time or will they be fickle and move <a href="http://katalogsirius.info/">onto</a> <a href="http://katalogaldebaran.info/">the</a> <a href="http://vseobecnykatalog.info/">next</a> <a href="http://kvalitni-stranky.cz">big</a> <a href="http://internetovy-katalog.cz">thing</a> <a href="http://bezva-stranky.cz">as</a> <a href="http://katalogprotebe.info">soon</a> <a href="http://tvojestranky.info">as</a> <a href="http://vyhledejweb.info">it</a> <a href="http://najdiodkaz.cz">presents</a> itself? Who knows.
    marco5811