Best Argument: Win-Win
Audience Favored: Win-Win (56%)
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.