When exactly in the past has Microsoft crushed a company's culture by not keeping "the kid gloves on." It's worth looking at those experiences closely as Nokia definitely has its own identity--although whether they will maintain that identity separate from Microsoft, whether they will even keep the name, is also in doubt.
I can certainly understand why MS should buy Nokia's phone/tablet business. The traditional PC market that constitutes MS's core business is flat or shrinking. Growth is in smartphones and tablets, and MS's success in that area has been negligable.
If you are an established vendor in a market and you want to get into a related one where you don't have a presense, you have two choices: create a new unit to address that market, or buy someone who is already established in it. Nokia fits the latter qualification.
The problem is that while Nokia has significant market share in smartphones, the share is largely in the low end commodity segment of the market, with competition on price and paper thin margins. MS also faces the ongoing challenge of making Windows8/Windows Phone accepted in the tablet/smartphone markets, where iOS and Android have commanding leads.
I have also seen suggestions that Elop has the inside track on being the next MS CEO when Ballmer steps down.
One question may be "Did Elop make the right call in choosing Windows Phone to replace Symbian, or should Nokia have gone to a Linux based solution like Android?"
Another question will be MS's understanding of and ability to compete in the smartphone market. MS already sells hardware - keyboards and mice, and the Xbox gaming console - but this will be a new level of involvement in a new market segment.
MS's best days were when Bill Gates was CEO and Steve Ballmer was COO. Gates had the strategic vision, and Ballmer managed day-to-day execution of Bill's overall plans. When Gates stepped aside and Ballmer became CEO, the question was whether he also had strategic vision, and the apparent answer was that he didn't. MS under Ballmer has mostly been "more of the same" when new initiatives were arguably needed.
Elop obviously has strategic vision, What's not clear is whether it's correct.
My wife has an old Nokia 6500 slide, it's brilliant. From power up to getting a carrier in under 10 seconds. Alas, if only Nokia had stayed at that level...
I recently bought the Asha 300: biggest mistake of my life. The old button controls have been replaced by a touch screen - with the most jarring errors I've seen. I have yet to master the dark art of scrolling down the screen [to select an option] so I haven't even set the time zone. It sits untouched in a box, to be a gift for someone I dislike.
If Nokia design [engineers or whoever] have been ignoring the user interface experience for the last few years, are they really going to be any worse under Microsoft?