Microsoft Buying Nokia, My Two Cents

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Kevin Everett shared his view on Microsoft’s buyout of Nokia’s Devices and Services division (read it hear) so i thought I’d share mine also.
My initial reaction to the news was one of shock. Nokia were slowly but surely getting back into the game. They were making truly innovative devices which saw other manufacturers following suit.
Most of what was good about Windows Phone was being done by Nokia. I can’t say they were solely responsible for the excellent experience found on my Lumia 920, but they made Lumia the only choice for me when it came to Windows Phone. The same was likely true for a lot of people. To be honest, had Nokia never made a Windows Phone I doubt I’d have ever given the platform a second thought.

While the deal won’t be finalised til the first quarter of next year, we can be pretty sure we won’t see another Nokia World, not after this year anyway. And if they do continue there will obviously be no new Nokia smartphones going on display for the first time. This is a sad fact for me.

Picture by Stephen Quin
Picture by Stephen Quin

Also, concern. What is to become of the platform I have brought into? Without Nokia pushing the platform, promoting it, improving it, will it continue to increase sales as it has been.

Nokia’s domination of the Windows Phone platform, with an 85% share of sales has been compared to their domination of the Symbian platform. But what happened in that situation? Did the Symbian Foundation try and purchase their highest most important hardware partner? No, the opposite happened. And, somewhere down the line I thought the same may actually happen with Windows Phone. Naive as it may seem, and as inevitable as this buyout probably was, I actually thought by the time Windows Phone 9 comes around Nokia will be doing it by themselves.

As i tried to find out all the facts on the deal a horrible thought dawned on me. Stephen Elop, a man I have always admired and trusted to do what’s best for Nokia was being lined up with a new job at Microsoft. Head of Devices. Was what I’d heard a lot of people say about him true? Was he a Trojan horse, planted by Microsoft? What seems clear to me is that he has done a good job with Nokia. But that good job also worked in favour of the company he will be returning to. I do believe Stephen Elop was working with Nokia and it’s share holders best interests at heart, but this new latest twist did cast a flicker of doubt in my mind. And it would be easy to see why someone may think his intensions weren’t as clear as we may have believed.

Then again who is to say this wasn’t demanded by the boardroom. Lets face it, Elop doesn’t have the power to sell Nokia all by himself. Could it be that maybe, just maybe the Nokia board had decided Elop, along with the Devices and Services department were going to be axed? And this was Microsoft’s way of stepping in before that happened? And for all those who have ever said “Nokia should have gone Android” well, in a little over two years they will be perfectly entitled to do so.

Which brings me on to another point. Nokia’s future. I would expect that this deal has strengthened Nokia as a company, giving them a much needed cash injection and allowing them to focus on two of their more profitable areas of the company, Maps and NSN. Will we see Nokia release another phone after the 31/12/2015 date passes. Initially I thought No, why would they sell their Devices and Services division only to start it all up again in the not to distant future? Granted, you could look at Jolla, a group of former Nokia staff who have taken on the Linux operating system which was MeeGo Harmattan as the obvious choice should a return to smartphones happen. Wouldn’t that be a good company to invest in, and get back to their original plan (original as in before February 11th 2011 announcement)? It sounds intriguing, but not something I personally see coming to fruition.

If I could put my finger on exactly why I felt so disappointed at the news of the buyout, the reason would have to be this. Nokia smartphones. Since owning my first device in early 2010, the 5800, I have been a fan. Many would describe me as a “Fanboy”. The only smartphones I have ever owned, and ever considered owning have all been Nokia’s. The company has a special place in my heart. So for that to be going away leaves me with a space. Where do I go next? (Well, next will undoubtedly be the Lumia 1020, but I mean after that). Personally I think I will continue to follow the Lumia brand, however long that name remains. After all, Microsoft built phones will be made by the same people in the same factories as current Nokia phones are. And Stephen Elop will still be at the helm, so for that reason not much will have changed. At least that is how I see it now.

Nokia Conversation answered some of the many questions they received since the announcement, which you can read about HERE . But I still have some of my own. Will this speed up the production and advancement of the Windows Phone platform? And what will become of the Series 30 and Series 40 devices? Do Microsoft really have an interest in building more Asha devices? I suppose all will be answered in time.

Business is business as they say, and company buyouts and take overs happen all the time. There is little room for sentimentality in that world. But in my world at least, there is plenty of room for it. This announcement doesn’t really have a drastic affect on my life, but that’s not to say I won’t feel a little heart broken when I walk in to my local Phones4U store and see the Nokia Lumia posters replaced by Microsoft Lumia ones.

So, those are my two cents. I would be very keen to hear your views. Please leave them in the comments section below.

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