The news that Microsoft has purchased substantial assets from Nokia came as a surprise, but perhaps it shouldn’t have. The underlying reason that Microsoft had little choice but to buy Nokia is plain: Nokia had too much control over the Windows Phone platform, and Microsoft could not afford to lose its primacy over its mobile efforts.
How did we end up in this situation?
Nokia today filed its 20-F financial report for the last fiscal year, in which it reiterated its projections for the next year ahead on device sales and margins for both devices and services, as well as for its Nokia Siemens Networks division.
CEO Stephen Elop continues to bet Nokia (NYSE: NOK) on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. Some skeptics are losing faith in Elop and Nokia, which has imploded while Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Android smartphone sales soar.
Nokia’s weird foray into Android is the Nokia X, a small, affordable smartphone that uses Google’s mobile OS, painted up as though it were almost a Windows Phone software variant. It’s a strange beast, with a chunky candybar design that blatantly screams ‘Nokia,’ and a price tag aimed at emerging markets.
It’s not like anyone really considered Nokia (NOK) an arms’ length partner for Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone prior to last week’s $7.2 billion buyout. But whatever secrets the two companies kept from one another aren’t going to stay hidden, according to a top Windows Phone exec.
AT&T customers who took the plunge on Nokia’s Lumia 900 have had to sit idly by and watch Windows Phone 8 supercede the software loaded on their own devices, but they’ll soon be able to experience at least part of what WP8 brings to the table.
It looks like Microsoft is going to greatly expand the Lumia brand that was once solely focused on the Windows Phone operating system. Last week, it emerged that Microsoft would be altering some of its brands and Lumia was one of them.
As far back as April, Microsoft (MSFT) devices chief Stephen Elop said the Nokia (NOK) smartphone line would be rebranded at some point, but not as Microsoft Mobile, even though that’s now the official name for Nokia’s former device business.