Enterprise Mobility: Microsoft, Nokia Partnership Is a Major Blunder: 10 Reasons Why

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-02-17
 
 
 

Microsoft, Nokia Partnership Is a Major Blunder: 10 Reasons Why

 

Microsoft, Nokia Partnership Is a Major Blunder: 10 Reasons Why

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1. Can Two Giants Work Together?Microsoft and Nokia are giants in the mobile market. And for years, they have been competitors, trying desperately to coax consumers and enterprise customers to opt for their operating systems. Now, they're working together against a common enemy in Google. The companies might feel like that's the best move right now. But once the deal is put into motion, it might be difficult for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to work together as well as they should as they consider what's best for their individual companies and not for all parties.

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2. It Confuses Symbian UsersNokia had been the dominant mobile phone maker for years. It still has a loyal following of customers and developers that have warmed to the Symbian operating system. But as the company's devices turn to Windows Phone 7, confusion and consternation will reign among Nokia customers who have retained their confidence in Symbian and have no experience with any version of the Windows mobile OS. Such confusion could make them opt for another established mobile OS. Given how popular Android has become, it just might be Google's OS that they turn to.

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3. Google Now Has the Opening It NeedsGoogle should be extremely happy to see Microsoft working with Nokia. The search giant can now look like the victim of yet another bully tactic on Microsoft's part to dominate a market. In addition, mobile phone users who have long taken issue with Microsoft's market practices might find common ground with Google. Of course, whether or not Microsoft really is trying to be a bully is up for debate. But Google can make that an issue of this deal, and capitalize quite heavily because of it.

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4. There's No Stopping AndroidNo matter how hard Microsoft and Nokia might try, the companies won't be able to do anything to beat Google's Android platform. Currently, Windows Phone 7 has a small slice of the mobile space. Nokia's Symbian operating system is losing ground. A deal between Microsoft and Nokia won't change the fact that those operating systems aren't growing and Android is gaining on them with each passing month.

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5. It Will Take Too LongMicrosoft and Nokia have indicated that this year and next will be "transition years" for Nokia. And by the looks of things, it won't be until 2012 that Nokia finally decides to say goodbye to Symbian once and for all. That means that Android will have the opening it needs over the next year to continue to take market share away from Nokia while Microsoft works all the kinks out of Windows Phone 7. That's not a good thing for the newly partnered companies. It could make it harder for them to gain ground on the competitors.

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6. Nokia Has Lost Its WayNokia's decision to partner with Microsoft came more out of desperation than anything else. Over the past couple years Symbian has been losing its influence in the marketplace. It's clear that Nokia simply doesn't understand the mobile market as well as it once did or should. That won't change with its partnership with Microsoft and could make things worse.

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7. Microsoft Doesn't Get Mobile EitherIf Nokia doesn't understand the mobile market these days, then it's not a stretch to say that Microsoft is lost too. The software giant waited far too long to bring Windows Phone 7 to the market, and it allowed Apple and Google to gain the upper hand. Moreover, Microsoft is having some trouble appealing to vendors that Google has been attracting. Combine that with Nokia's troubles, and it's easy to see why these two companies could end up just floundering in the mobile wilderness together.

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8. Nokia's Disgruntled WorkforceIn addition to announcing its partnership with Microsoft, Nokia said that it will significantly reduce its workforce. That's extremely unfortunate for all those folks. But by reducing its workforce, Nokia might allow some of its better talent to get away. Given their experience in the mobile industry, they might just find themselves working with competitors. That, in the end, could further erode Nokia's position in the mobile market and ruin its chances of reviving its operation if the deal with Microsoft doesn't work out.

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9. The Investor Implications Could Be MajorNokia has a responsibility to investors to deliver the best-quality products and services to its customers. That, in turn, will help the company generate more revenue and profits. But in this deal, Nokia is effectively changing its entire business. Investors that put their cash into the operation for one reason are now wondering if they should stay in with this new focus. That could have a major impact on Nokia and its future decision-making. It could help derail its partnership with Microsoft if investors worry that the agreement was a mistake.

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10. Does It Make Microsoft Look Bad?Microsoft continues to endure a bit of an identity crisis. The company for years has looked like a bully at times as it does what it believes it must do to be successful. But these days Microsoft keeps looking as if it's acting from a weak position rather than from position of strength to regain lost market advantages. The Nokia deal is eerily similar to the agreement it signed with Yahoo in the search space, which was widely panned by critics as more of the same from Microsoft. This time around, the stakes are higher. When it's all said and done, this deal might be looked back on as another serious mistake that will add to the growing evidence that Microsoft's and Nokia's best days are behind them.

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