October 5th, 2015
Bye Bye, Nokia Devices
Yes, you have heard it right. Nokia’s devices and services business had been acquired by Microsoft. Microsoft acquired Nokia’s smartphone and mobile phone businesses as part of a $7.5 billion US dollars deal. This means Microsoft will take over both the smart and mobile devices of Nokia. What this effectively means, is that the Lumia, Asha and Nokia X series (which I just mentioned sometime back) will now fall under the umbrella of Microsoft’s devices. And Microsoft could drop the Nokia name, says Stephen Elop. In fact, not only will Microsoft acquire 25,000 Nokia employees in 50 countries, even the more than 4,000 employees in Finland will transfer to Microsoft, and Nokia’s headquarters Helsinki will be taken over by Microsoft.
So, you are looking at the different team within Nokia that will be acquired, including the design teams, supply chain, even the employees, and developer relations. In fact, a large part of Nokia’s manufacturing plants and testing facilities will move to Microsoft. Services such as Store, Mixradio etc will also be moved.
So, it seemed that the days of Nokia as a smartphone manufacturer are numbered, and perhaps, this is the last chance for you to own a Nokia-branded device. I would still remember that in the year 2008, just 6 years old, Nokia’s market share globally was a whopping 40% – 4 out of 10 phones was a Nokia phone. In 2013, it accounted for only about 4%, a far cry from its former glory and leadership position.
In addition, lo and behold, just about a week ago, the Nokia Mobile World Congress event, Nokia announced that BlackBerry Messenger will be released soon for its Windows Phone devices. Apparently, for a start, the BBM will be exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia devices but will likely be released for all Windows Phone devices after the first six months, just like previous Lumia exclusives. For Nokia, the pre-installing of BBM on its Lumia devices would be a powerful driver of new users to BlackBerry’s messaging service, as well as for the consumers and corporate market, which it desperately needs to compete with other messaging services such as Whatsapp and Line.
Now, If you have the same question as I do – “will the GPS mapping, HERE also go to Microsoft?” Well, I hope not, because I quite like the Nokia’s mapping application. The good news is that Microsoft will not buy over Nokia’s mapping entity. I believe it is partly because it is considered a separate business, and I half-suspected that Microsoft would still want to have Bing Maps as its main-stay mapping engine. So, the mapping services was not part of the deal, although a 10-year licensing deal was inked between Nokia and Microsoft to use the mapping.
So what do you think about the acquisition by Microsoft? Is it a case of a big fish swallowing a small one, and then removing it from the market totally? Or it was really a natural progression, given the increasing close relationship and partnership between Microsoft and Nokia over the years?