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6 things to expect in mobile from Microsoft's Nokia acquisition

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What will a future Microsoft/Nokia collaboration look like?

So Microsoft has bought the best bits of Nokia, and given their already cozy relationship, the two companies will likely be working as one much more quickly than, say, Google and Motorola did. What can we expect from the next couple years of this intriguing mashup?

#1. Pureview rolls out en masse

One of the few things Nokia is truly known for in the modern smartphone market is actually innovating in the camera space. Most skeptics of the 41-megapixel Pureview sensor have been silenced by its versatility and image quality. Sure, there's work to be done in speeding it up and adding features, but the core technology is unique and powerful.

Microsoft knows this adds a big card to their hand, and Pureview will almost certainly be a flagship feature of Windows Phones from now on. It won't be on every device, but you can be sure it's going to hit a lot more models than just the top-end superphones.

#2. Windows slums it at the low end

Shipping dumbphones with a dead-end OS doesn't fit Microsoft's plan to nibble away at the smartphone market. Nokia's approach has led to years of decline, but they still have reach, especially in emerging markets. Microsoft will want to use this reach to put some kind of Windows Phone device in the hands of someone trying to decide between a Samsung flip-phone and a Nokia Asha.

This won't be easy — but it may be a better fit for a cut-down version of an OS than in the disastrous Windows RT tablets. A Windows Phone "lite" running on cheap hardware could put millions into Microsoft's world of services. 

A side effect of this will be an attempt to freeze Android out of the budget segment. Every month, Android phones get closer and closer to supplanting dumbphones in massive markets like India and China. Offering a killer low-end phone will halt the enemy's progress and boost friendly ranks.

#3. Photos get a social and cloud boost

Microsoft may have recently updated its Skydrive service with better photo options, but they're still lagging far behind Apple and Google when it comes to a smooth, connected photo-taking and sharing experience. Microsoft should be bending over backwards to make sure apps like Instagram and Vine are available on Windows Phone, while pushing connections with Facebook to the maximum. Why, for example, isn't Binging all your and your friends' Facebook photos and tags already a homepage action? And why is WP always the last to be supported by the cool new thing?

Nokia has a lot of thoughtful software engineers who have built accessible, innovative apps over the last few years, and they may combine with Microsoft's vast ecosystem of services to make something powerful. Or at least, it's possible.

#4. Skype everywhere

Microsoft has been waiting for a way to extend the mobile reach of Skype for a long time, and this is a great opportunity. Include it (with some sort of sweet data deal) on every Windows Phone as an answer to FaceTime and Google Hangouts and watch as users stick with the default. Want to bet every phone Microsoft sells starting a year from now has dual cameras?

#5. Industry acquaintances get the cold shoulder

After an initial (and largely ineffective) push, companies like Samsung and LG have offered only lukewarm support of Microsoft's newer platforms. Microsoft thanked them both with the self-produced Surface tablets, and by partnering for all intents and purposes exclusively with Nokia. Expect this frosty relationship to chill even further now that Microsoft has no particular need for their design and manufacturing prowess.

#6. "Nokia" will stick around

A few comments have been made about the branding of devices: Microsoft Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 1020 is about four words too long, and many have suggested that "Nokia" is on the chopping block. That's doubtful. Nokia is one of the most well-recognized mobile brands in the world, and has many positive associations. Windows Phone and Lumia are newer and more mixed. Moreover, callously retiring a cherished and valuable brand would be very bad PR.

No, Microsoft's best move is to make sure that "Nokia" is solely associated with Windows, so much so that they don't have to say it in the name. If anything, "Nokia" will be the last brand standing when it comes to what's actually advertised. Intel, after all, didn't tell Dell to call their computers "Intel Pentium Inspirons"... yet "Intel Inside" is a brand that persists to this day, while "Inspiron" is virtually without cachet. Google relaunched Motorola rather than absorb it.

Comments

Total comments: 57
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

MS "rented" brands from Nokia
"Lumia" for smartphones
"Asha" for feature phones
"Nokia" for basic phones
AND
that for a while Nokia can't have "Nokia" smartphones,
BUT
remember that ALL the factories and personnel was bought by MSFT. Nokia is not capable of doing any phone design nor manufacture any phones - EVER

0 upvotes
fastglass
By fastglass (7 months ago)

+1

This acquisition has REAL potential - I like it.

Hopefully MS can secure some truly Visionary Leadership at the top (Ford, Gates, Jobs, Ellison, etc) ... Capable of Executing on the first go-about.

Good time too, as Apple's "Play it Safe" & "CYA" approach to "leadership" (sic) - is definitely leaving room for them to be surpassed ...

Cheers.

imo

1 upvote
N13L5
By N13L5 (7 months ago)

We can expect more abortive disasters from Microsoft, so much is sure.

First they had their trojan horse Elop destroy Nokia, with moves too detrimental to be accidental. Now they buy Nokia on the cheap, thinking they will "recast Microsoft into a devices and services company"

They have their heads way too far up their behinds to make that happen.

So far, as a devices company, they scored the worst iFixit score ever for their tablets, they neutered Windows RT, by pulling the already finished windows software support at the behest of Intel, who didn't want to have to compete with ARM, so they can keep their prices sky high.

Next up, remember Zune? remember when Microcruft turned off their DRM servers, so all customers who had purchased their digital music lost all of the music they had payed for, with no compensation at all.

Products purely designed for corporate greed, not customer need. Tollbooth hell and complete lock down, no customization.

If I wanted that, I'd buy Crapple.

0 upvotes
Kazzaz
By Kazzaz (7 months ago)

I switched to Nokia and wp8 after 4years married to android from HTC legend to nexus 7 , not because they're the best I just got bored from android and want to be little different and I see that they have a great chance to be much better platform with more updates and better store.

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (7 months ago)

"One of the few things Nokia is truly known for in the modern smartphone market is actually innovating in the camera space."

Sadly not to most people. In the minds of consumers, this genuine innovation has barely caused a ripple. Nokia is still "that company that used to make phones".

2 upvotes
win39
By win39 (7 months ago)

I can't wait to see the Microsoft ad, "Tap Dancing for Nokia".

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (7 months ago)

Three buying scenarios:
- shelf A: High end Android, iOS, Windows phones.
- shelf B: Medium-line Android and Windows (maybe the future Apple, too).
- shelf C: entry-level brand-name Android and maybe Windows. (Plus Chinese Androids extremely cheap).

For all scenarios, the prices are roughly the same, all have about the same features. Android and iOS provide already established platforms: large support communities (users), all software houses will build their apps for these OS-es while not all will build for Windows. Why buy the Windows phone, then?

What I'm saying is Microsoft should start offering something new to make them interesting. Aggressive prices would be tempting for customers, additional features will help. Maybe there are other ways, but simply using the Microsoft or Nokia brands won't help. The fact they bought Nokia, won't do magic -- even if they keep all the good Nokia engineers (which is doubtful), they must do something very visible after this aquisition.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ShoomKloom
By ShoomKloom (7 months ago)

"Android and iOS provide already established platforms"

Microsoft has the biggest developer community with the best developer tools.
In a couple of years Windows 8 will be all prevalent in enterprises and homes around the world and it will be a no brainer for IT managers to dictate Windows phones for all employees.
Windows phone development requires almost zero learning effort for Windows developers so we will see tons of new apps very quickly as soon as it catches on.

0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (7 months ago)

Let's expect that it will work !!!! cause -youtube- doesn't seem to work properly

0 upvotes
dprnik
By dprnik (7 months ago)

I quite like the look of the just announced 515. I wonder what the future of the non-windows phones will be.

0 upvotes
vab3
By vab3 (7 months ago)

I think you'll like Windows over Android. There may be one or two apps for which you can't find a Windows alternative.

The success of the platform boils down to who takes over as CEO.

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (7 months ago)

One or two too many, perhaps.

1 upvote
Alphoid
By Alphoid (7 months ago)

I'd consider buying one of the phones if it dual-booted Android. If Windows sucks, I could swap.

Microsoft: Here's a challenge. Ship with both, and let the consumer pick. If Windows is better, it'll win.

6 upvotes
SWSF14
By SWSF14 (7 months ago)

Wishful thinking, but I'm right there with you man.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (7 months ago)

Given the pure joy people get from wrestling with Microsoft products, my suggestion would be to drop all references to Microsoft. Windows? Don't even ask.

0 upvotes
Northgrove
By Northgrove (7 months ago)

Exactly. Microsoft and Windows are too closely associated with frustrations from noisy old Windows NT mainframes, desktops, and so on. It represents clunkiness and annoyances, not visions. It's kind of funny because Microsoft thinks "Windows" is a super strong brand, but not everything well known is well known in a positive sense...

When it comes to mobility, I actually, honestly believe that Nokia is a stronger brand, especially with their pretty decent Windows Phone series.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
BurningPlatform
By BurningPlatform (7 months ago)

Firstly, a few things have to set right:
1) Microsoft did not buy any patents, they just licensed them.
2) The acquired part of Nokia is currently responsible for roughly half of the revenue - and all of the losses.
3) As said, Microsoft has a limited time to use the Nokia brand - and there is no contractual obstacle for Nokia to return to phone buisiness after a couple of years with the Nokia brand (small chance that would happen, though).

And what will happen?
1) Microsoft has not got a clue what to do with the PureView brand. They will probably destroy it, either willingly or accidentally.
2) Microsoft envisages itself as a leader, although they are a follower. They will continue to under-spec and over-price their offerings.
3) Now that they merged with their "sparring partner", there is no-one to tell them what is wrong before it is too late.
4) All in all, I do not see a future for Windows Phone.
5) Sell.

3 upvotes
halc
By halc (7 months ago)

They did buy 8500 design patents. Only utility patents were NOT sold, but non-exclusively licensed.

Nokia has NOTHING left in phone business: people, factories, designers, contacts, brands, stores, design patents... nothing except some utility patents.

No, they exited phones for a reason and did it clear enough to make sure people understood they are not coming back for another round of hurt any time soon.

0 upvotes
Alex Panoiu
By Alex Panoiu (7 months ago)

#6. "Nokia" will stick around.

Actually, the brand Nokia remains with Nokia Corporation. Microsoft has acquired limited rights to the brand, allowing them to use it for existing devices only. Any new device made by Microsoft will have to carry another brand name.

The part of Nokia which Microsoft didn't buy, Nokia Solutions and Networks (formerly Nokia Siemens Networks) is big in telecom equipment and services and it's doing quite well.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

What to expect?
Let me see...
(1)
Unification of the API on W8.1, W8.1 RT, WP 8.1, Xbox One
=> explosion on the ecosystem
Will happen starting Feb 2014
(2)
MONEY on the marketing
(3)
No more delays on the development of the WP
(may have to wait for the re-org to finish)
- - -
Looks very very good!

1 upvote
andyvanzz
By andyvanzz (7 months ago)

I expect only one thing, they will grab all Nokia patents, shut down any existing manufacturing in Europe, and move everything to China.

0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (7 months ago)

is anything still made in Europe at this point? even the more expensive models like the 925 have "Made in China" on them.

0 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (7 months ago)

Precisely, everything Nokia is make in China and India!

0 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (7 months ago)

Yup, even my Nokia 808 Pureview is made in China.

1 upvote
kodachromeguy
By kodachromeguy (7 months ago)

Won't the baggage and poor history of updates and flaws put off most knowledgeable buyers? In other words, who voluntarily buys MS anything (other than corporate types, etc.)?

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (7 months ago)

The funny thing is that MS makes a lot of money off every Android phone sold ($7-8/handset) due to patent infringements. You can look it up. They make more money off Android than WP8. MS really wins either way.

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (7 months ago)

Patent licensing, not infringement.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (7 months ago)

Saying this is a Microsoft/Nokia merger is like saying Google/Motorola merger.

2 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter
By Just another Canon shooter (7 months ago)

Ironically, the last time I was on the market for a smartphone, I was fine with Windows, but did not like the hyped camera of the 920, not to mention it felt like a brick in my hand. I do not even use my smartphone camera so often.

0 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (7 months ago)

I remember the days when I used to carry a smartphone in my pocket. Now, it's all about telepathic communication.

4 upvotes
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (7 months ago)

I like that my phone has a camera, but I don't by a camera to have a phone. Its phone first, camera second for me.

Microsoft has really no track record of being innovative. It managed to secure the office market place, but I would be hard pressed to point to any game changers that came from them. There OS admittedly was a copy of Apple's. They missed copying iOS and Google beat them to the punch. Now there in catch up same with Nokia. They will remain the third player, I don't expect any leaps ahead with innovation.

2 upvotes
yatesd
By yatesd (7 months ago)

I welcome the competition! Windows 8.1 on my tablet already seems more stable than Android and less proprietary than Apple.

I would think photographers would welcome unique phones with features directed at better images...

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 months ago)

You suppose that MS managers are competent. They are not. Ballmer is bad, whoever comes after him (let me guess - a Harvard MBA) will be even worse, starting dismantling of the company (2 companies).

0 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (7 months ago)

What are you talking about! Nothing big happens without Board's approval. As long as Bill Gates is the major stock holder, nothing crazy is going to happen!

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (7 months ago)

Gates is only interested in curing malaria in Africa, for the last 13 or so years. He has enough money already. Even when he officially held position of Chief Architect, he did not do much. More African kids to survive malaria only to suffer and die from hunger or wars for the diminishing supply of food and water.
And the day to day decisions which determine whether a company can compete are definitely not big enough.

0 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (7 months ago)

Cool story, bro...Vladik is right.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (7 months ago)

Other things to expect:

#7. The Nokia screen of DEATH, introduced by Microsoft.

#8. CTRL+ALT+DEL hot keys on Nokias, as never seen before...

#9. A choice of Hour Glass or Cycling Rings to show that your phone has hanged...

.

13 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (7 months ago)

I agree halc.

People who still were willing to try Nokia phones because of the Nokia name and it history of making fine phones will give up now. Microsoft is not the most loved brand.

7 upvotes
halc
By halc (7 months ago)

Six things to expect:

1. All existing WP licensees (except for a couple of small Chinese) will exit WP, leaving MS alone

2. People will grow doubtful towards Nokia devices, now that they are MS devices, which has three times now threatened to obsolete old WP device in a year (that is: you buy every year, or we obsolte your device)

3. MS will keep it's sluggish updates to the lacking features of WP

4. Sales will fall, worldwide market share will fall.

5. MS will fail with WP phones, just as they did with sidekick, zune and many other customer devices they tried in already crowded markets.

6. In 4-6 years MS will replace WP with something new, and call it the true successor of WP, leaving all the remaining WP users stranded.

4 upvotes
DamianS
By DamianS (7 months ago)

Agree. Your points sound much more realistic than the ones in the article.
Was about to get the 1020 to replace my failing N8 but Nokia is now dead to me.
Looking at the Sony Xperia instead.

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (7 months ago)

Agreed. This acquisition almost reminds me of HP buying Palm, they just don't know what to do with it. MS will fare a bit better, but the story would be close as pointed above.

1 upvote
ahmadfkarim
By ahmadfkarim (7 months ago)

I'm usually skeptical about MS, but this particular move should be looked at as their effort in trying to (properly, finally) spread their wings in the global market. They bought out Nokia precisely to address your point #3 and #5.

Recently they've admitted that their partnership with Nokia could use more synergy and after this acquisition I think it's reasonable to expect better features and faster updates from Windows Phone.

Another important point of acquiring Nokia is - as mentioned - the access to their massive global presence and distribution network, which remain as MS's biggest hurdle yet in their mission to become a global "Devices and Services" company. So instead of building up their network from scratch, they decided to just buy out an established one wholesale instead. [Personally I'm baffled that a company as massive as MS is still stuck in their North America lala-land, passing up opportunities (Windows, Office, Xbox) to stamp their global presence]

0 upvotes
ahmadfkarim
By ahmadfkarim (7 months ago)

Microsoft's biggest problem is still their bureaucracy and inept management.

1 upvote
mbloof
By mbloof (7 months ago)

I own 2 WINCE devices and have owned 2 WINCE phones. While the 'pocketPCs' are fairly stable both of the phone versions were requiring almost monthly 'factory resets' to bring back to life.

MS re-badges, re-brands, re-launches the same failing technology over and over while leaving customers of its prior versions in the wake.

This is what makes the Apple ecosystem attractive. Many of their models OS can be upgraded a few times before being OBS and even when OBS they are fully functional. (a friend still uses a iPhone3)

My prediction(s)? MS will lease/rent the phones and/or require a 18mo replacement cycle and kill off+bury whatever is left of Nokia in the process. Someone will come out with a not-so-smart cheap flip phone that has good Youtube+FB+browser built in and the low end will live on without Nokia or MS.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (7 months ago)

I'm not so sure... I see little difference. Samsung just owns the market by its high end hardware, coupled with software might of Google. Apple remains the only choice for many IOS fans.

I only see MS/Nokia to compete at the lower end with slower hardware but with a fast, simple OS, cheaper phone than competition, yet, it's a good start.

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (7 months ago)

"Apple remains the only choice for many IOS fans."
uh.. has it ever been any different?

1 upvote
ConanFuji
By ConanFuji (7 months ago)

Microsoft milked the whole world with pricey softwares for the decades Windows and Office all but monopolised the market.
Nokia did the same thing with their unsmart phones.

They can go to Hell together.

Ps : I doubt Microsoft wants to make smartphones for us. They look like they wanna use Nokia to be a patent troll and sue the pants off Google.

Time will tell...

4 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (7 months ago)

"Microsoft milked the whole world with pricey softwares for the decades Windows and Office all but monopolised the market.
Nokia did the same thing with their unsmart phones."

WTH are you talking about?? Nokia monopolising the market and producing "unsmart" phones???

1, they did not force anyone to buy their handsets. Actually, they even had little presence in the US during their golden days.

2, "unsmart"? You certainly don't know what you're speaking about. In many respects, their 5-year-old models are still smarter than today's stock iOS or WP7/8 models; for example, call recording support. In addition, they were leaders in camera tech during the last 10-11 years. Have you ever compared the camera of, say, the N95 to the first iPhone? The N8 to the 3GS? The 808 to the 4S? There simply isn't comparison - Nokia has always been much-much smarter in imaging than Apple. (And most of the Android folks, starting with 2009.)

8 upvotes
bobn2
By bobn2 (7 months ago)

This is rather a misleading headline. This is not a 'Microsoft/Nokia merger', it is an acquisition by Microsoft of a major part of Nokia's business. Nokia continues as a separate company.

5 upvotes
DamianS
By DamianS (7 months ago)

Nokia continues business solely as a patent troll.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (7 months ago)

Someone here seems to be a patented troll...
Stay on the subject or stay out!
WHY IS THERE NO FILTER in the dpreview?

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (7 months ago)

There is "flag as inappropriate", as long as you don't abuse it :)

1 upvote
Gadgety
By Gadgety (7 months ago)

Slap DUAL 41mp Pureviews for lossless zooming, 3D photography and video on the Windows Surface. Got to bring something to the RT to make it sell, and they will position Microsoft as the imaging/film tablet par excellence. I know I'd like it. This is one of the key resources of what they bought. There's space and processing power.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter
By Just another Canon shooter (7 months ago)

There is no such thing like a lossless zooming. The appropriate term is digital zooming, and this cannot replace optical zooming.

2 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (7 months ago)

DLL's not cooperating with each-other ?

2 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (7 months ago)

;-)

0 upvotes
MikeInNJ
By MikeInNJ (7 months ago)

Agree with all of it.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 57
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