The headline reads "Nokia's Microsoft deal clouds Finn's future" but the firms future is clearer than ever... bobbing tentatively for a time, casting about for another to save it from ruin, then sinking like a rock.
When two behemoths get together it's hard to ignore the elephant in the room. Smartphones may be all the rage of Apple's followers now, but I would not put it past both Nokia and Microsoft to find a "magic bullet" to attract both the corporate and consumer world. Execution will be everything, as they say in Mgmt 101.
This deal helps to cover Nokia's incompetency to make a decent mobile OS and also helps them to get some instant market share in US market. But as Rick mentioned
"Nokia will struggle to differentiate its products as one of a growing set of Microsoft handset OEMs"
For MS they get instant market share to 35% of worlds phones. I guess MS might have agreed to sell WindowsPhone7 licenses for almost 0$ to Nokia and might also have agreed to share the revenues generated from the ecosystem, like share ad revenues from Bing searches,share app revenues from apps downloaded to Nokia phones, Share Music/Video content revenues etc... Still a good deal for MS I would say :)
"Still a good deal for MS".... Yes, this is a GREAT deal for Microsoft. However, they will get almost zero percent market share of the worlds phones, at least for some time to come... Nokia is big in low-cost markets where Symbian will [probably] be their primary play (unless of course they choose to quickly dump their "franchise platform").
Nokia, I think, had a plan... a good plan. It was to introduce a line of handsets where the software would work exceptionally well up and down the computing stack (handhelds, netbooks, laptops, etc., etc., etc.). And MeeGo is an exceptional solution (in my opinion) but Nokia's execution problems, it would seem, made it impossible for it to lead in this effort within the handheld market. Win7 in principle allows Nokia to keep the exact same strategy but instead of being aligned with Linux it is aligned with Microsofts Windows 7 OS. Do not expect to see Android operating far up the computing stack.
This definitely will put some brakes on the growing popularity of Android as the preferred OS for mobile. With the two giants joining hands , it is anybody's guess how both Nokia and MS will play the catch game with Apple and the Android players
The Nokia advantage that existed thus far is lost. Why would people prefer a Nokia handset vs. Samsung,Sony or any other chinese manufacturer? After all, nokia is not known as the cheapest device maker.
Nokia is still the leading seller by unit volume so the firm is seeking ways to preserve its market share. A large portion of global mobile users do not yet have smartphones so positive experience with Nokia added to the strong branding of MS may be enough to save that share. I also know of many Windows users who don't yet have a smart phone and view them with a bit of suspicion (i.e., anti-Apple bias), but would likely pick a MS-run platform in the future, if maybe under duress (we can see a day when the only mobile phones are smartphones).
Adding to what Warren said, I don't think that Nokia's MeeGo platform work will go to waste but rather, be retargeted. First to OS with MSP7 and maybe then hardware with a move to Atom (note that the MeeGo initiative is being done with Intel despite that the MeeGo phone slated for late 2011 runs a SnapDragon). We may be seeing the birth of the NokWintel sector of mobile comms!