Nokia and Microsoft get hitched - can they beat Apple and Google?
The world of consumer mobile got turned on its head and smacked on the arse this morning: Nokia are to partner with Microsoft to produce their next generation of smartphones. That's Nokia, the company that's CEO confessed to the company being a "series of misses" that "lacked accountability and leadership", and Microsoft, who have Steve Ballmer.
Both companies are scared witless about the seemingly endless innovation and sales of Google's Android platform and Apple in the smartphone market; both are struggling to build or retain market share; both need one another to survive. It's not a deal to be dismissed, however; Nokia still have a massive share of the mobile market, and Microsoft have at least the resources to make their Windows Phone software a worthy competitor.
What does the deal mean? Windows Phone will replace the Symbian OS as its main operating system, effectively killing off Symbian and new Meego OS project (although Nokia is insisting they will live on in other guises). Nokia’s Ovi app store will also be integrated into Microsoft’s Marketplace. Nokia will begin to use Bing for search across its devices and Nokia Maps will be integrated into Microsoft services.
From a consumer point-of-view, it means there should be a solid, widespread additional choice in terms of smartphone platforms, and that sort of competition should be good for customers. The concern and source of cynicism amongst the media this morning, is that both companies seen to be failing - yes, Nokia has plenty of market share and yes, Microsoft has billions in the bank - but neither are regarded as particularly innovative in the current smartphone market.
Watch the hastily thrown together announcement of the partnership - you'll never see two CEOs more uncomfortable with the words coming out their mouths:
The deal is perhaps best summed up by the editor of Editor, ZDNet UK on Twitter: "Microsoft and Nokia. Like an accountant marrying an insurance executive: the kids will either be dull or go off the rails completely."