Microsoft is buying Nokia for 7.2 billion USD. The US based Microsoft, once the leader of all connected and non-connected devices which didn’t adapt to the smartphone revolution is buying the Finland based Nokia, once the leader of mobile devices which did not adapt to the smartphone revolution.
Nokia could have been Apple, a company manufacturing devices holding their own operating systems for a high end experience. Microsoft could have had google’s position, an operating system OEM provider for other device manufacturers, with a mass market appeal due to a high range of devices sold.
They both failed miserably. Nokia failed to turn its symbian operating system into a platform that developers want to develop for. Microsoft were stuck in their old business model and did not see how fast open source became a real threat on the consumer level (which is surprising given the detrimental effect it has on their Enterprise business) and how appealing open source is to developers and carriers. Without developers and good apps, no operating system can ever succeed.
Microsoft and Nokia are like two blind people helping each other cross the street. They both don’t get what consumers in 2013 want. Microsoft is stuck in a classic innovator’s dilemma. Do you invest in technologies that disrupt your current revenue stream? Can Microsoft consider open sourcing windows in order to give it a chance against Android? Not a fucking chance. Will any device manufacturer give windows a chance when they know they will help Nokia in the process? Not a chance in hell. Will developers invest in a closed platform which doesn’t have any users? Developing for two operating systems is hard enough.
Why did Microsoft spend 7.2 Billion then? Because they don’t have a choice. They can’t give up on mobile. It’s the future. So even if their attempts are bound to fail (and they have had enough failures in the past few years), they have to keep throwing their money until they succeed. Nokia is actually a good buy in that sense, probably better than Blackberry (another company which is looking to sell before nothing is left). But it doesn’t change the basic fact – the mobile market has taken shape, and a mediocre operating system with no apps isn’t gonna change that.
Sorry Microsoft. This decade just ain’t for you.