Should Microsoft buy Nokia?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | May 6, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Two years ago, Nokia ditched Symbian and adopted Windows Phone. What's next for these mobile partners?

Jo Best

Jo Best

Win-Win

or

Lose-Lose

Ben Woods

Ben Woods

Best Argument: Win-Win

56%
44%

Audience Favored: Win-Win (56%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

A necessary move for both

Jo Best: For the first time, last quarter saw more smartphones sold than feature phones. Nokia once had the smartphone market it in the palm of its hand, but lost its lead after being outpaced by nimbler rivals. Microsoft never had any lead to speak of, having steadfastly failed to translate dominance of desktops into anything substantial on the smaller screen.

Now, Microsoft and Nokia are a long way behind Apple and the Samsung-Android duopoly, with both their futures tied to Windows Phone, an operating system with six percent market share. While Microsoft buying Nokia might not reinvigorate the OS' fortunes, it's still a necessary move for both.

For Nokia, being acquired by Microsoft would buy it time to build up Lumia shipments, and for Microsoft, it offers a means of keeping Nokia from being wooed to another operating system – the only major handset maker to keep faith with Windows Phone. When Nokia adopted Windows Phone and ditched Symbian, many thought it was laying the groundwork for just such an acquisition. It made sense then, and it makes even more sense now.

 

Not today, not tomorrow

Ben Woods: Nope, not today, not tomorrow – there's no way it makes sense for Microsoft to buy Nokia.

It already has as much as it could hope for out of the company in its partnership with Nokia around Windows Phone 8, and even though Microsoft makes support payments to Nokia, it's an agreement that is already now seeing the software maker taking a net gain from its deal with the the Finnish handset maker.

What exactly would it gain from buying Nokia? The most valuable part of the company could well be the patents that it holds by the time Microsoft would get close to considering such a deal, but even then it's likely to be a defensive, rather than offensive, move.

While Windows Phone struggled to gain traction when it was first introduced in the marketplace, it is now slowly gathering pace. Putting all its eggs in a Nokia-branded basket would be short-sighted, at best.

Talkback

82 comments
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  • Kiss Nokia's Innovation Goodbye...

    Not that Nokia's been doing anything major lately, but if M$ buys them out, innovation will crushed out.
    hunter-seeker
    Reply 1 Vote I'm for Lose-Lose
    • not if MS knows when to be hands off?

      But yes I understand your utmost doubts.... I only voted for green because I'm done w/ Nokia's current all eggs in one basket approach anyways. Might as well let MS get fuller than full access (if that's not happening already..), look at their options and ante up WP and probably Surface phones properly.
      7th_Hayreddin
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Nokia died two years ago...

        ...and that's why it's all the same if M$ bought it or not. Not many years ago Nokia got 40% of both mobiles and smartphones. Now - 3%. At the same time Android has conquered

        1. Smartphone market........... 75,6%
        2. Tablet market.................... 56,5%

        Best men and women have already left Nokia... some to Jolla.... some to other IT-companies ...some to public service sector. Some of them are so tired of unstable IT that they are re-educated themselves to teachers, nurses, media etc....
        Napoleon XIV
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Best move ever by Microsoft

    Nokia Lumia running Windows 8 are the best smartphones out there today.

    1. Nokia designers are the only ones in the industry that have some imagination. Compare a Nokia Lumia 920 or 720 with a Samsung, HTC or the ageing iPhone.

    2. Nokia develops the best cameras for smartphones. Read the reviews or ask users.

    3. Nokia knows mobile system design best.

    4. Best mobile patent portfolio on the planet.
    The_observer
    Reply 12 Votes I'm for Win-Win
    • Too early.

      Agree with your points, altough I cannot state them that enthusiastically because I got one of the early batches of Lumia 920 which are riddled with manufacturing defects.

      I don't agree that the 2 of them merging would be a benefit, tough. The Microsoft brand is too polarizing as a consumer brand, and the Microsoft haters would harm the Nokia brand more than they do now, if Nokia were owned by Microsoft. Microsoft benefits from Nokia primariliy because of their consumer brand, which is worth several billion $ to Microsoft, but that value would shrink if Nokia were acquired.

      Since I have Nokia shares I would not mind a Microsoft buyout, tough.
      Sacr
      Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
      • Nokia Brand

        The Nokia brand is huge in some countries, but Microsoft can buy Nokia and keep the Nokia brand. Also, Microsoft buying Nokia would give people the confidence that Nokia will be there for tech support, warranty claims, and keeping the HERE services and all of the Nokia apps functioning with continued future development.
        rmark2
        Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
        • Nokia is big only in memories...

          ...but in real hectic life there are just a small kiosk now.

          Android: 75,6% vs. Lumia 2,9%

          Read the numbers and think about how was it possible that company like Nokia collapsed so heavily before and after Microsoft captured it. Because in reality - Nokia is owned even now by Microsoft. It's not at all independent company.
          Napoleon XIV
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Been There, Dropped Them

      This is the Google/Moto discussion all over again.
      Botom line, where is the ROI for MS?
      Not seeing it.
      Aside from that, would US regulators even allow it? Then there is the big EU question.

      Personal opinion: Noka devices are gimmicky and second rate in my eyes. I am still firmly in the Win7/Android camp.
      rhonin
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • My Nokia 920 has NEVER crashed.

        Six months of use and not one crash or dropped call. Cannot say the same about the previous Android (AT&T Captivate, Android 2.1), which was a horrific mobile device. The iPhone before that was not as bad, but no where near the quality of the 920.

        MS / Nokia the way it is, is not broke, and needs no fixing.

        There is no advantage to either in a merger. MS is already doing everything possible (e.g. financial, technical) to help Nokia succeed with the WP platform.

        While WP is a tortoise in the mobile race, they still have what history proves to be required to win whereas APPL and GOOG do not.

        Think Ford-Toyota, Leitz-Nikon, Smith Corona-IBM Selectric, Fairchild-Intel, Apple-IBM, Novell-MS, Lotus-MS, Ashton Tate-MS, Yahoo-Google.

        History proves that early adopters and first successful market implementations of technology almost (cannot think of one, 3M?) NEVER win a long term race.
        Patrickgood1
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
    • The BEST doesn't alway breed a winner ...

      ... (but you probably don't remember Betamax). Microsoft certainly has the resources to keep Nokia afloat but such an acquisition would put Microsoft in a position to compete against HTC and Samsung. HTC is a Windows Phone 8 partner and Samsung is not only a Windows Phone 8 partner but also a Windows 8 partner. Plus, Samsung and HTC are more stable vendors who do not have all their eggs in one basket.
      M Wagner
      Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided