A Microsoft event in 2006.
In a move a bit like two dinosaurs mating after the asteroid, Microsoft is buying Nokia. MS and Nokia had a deal long ago, brokered by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, to put Windows on Nokia phones. Now this deal completes the courtship, with Elop presumably becoming CEO of the two headed beast when current MS CEO Ballmer resigns. Thing is, Windows Phone is pretty cool, but it’s unclear whether there’s room for a third phone OS at all. In PC market there was really only Windows and Mac. On mobile, it’s kinda the same, except with Google’s Android playing the Windows role.
The valuation of companies is weird, to say the least. Microsoft and Nokia are both profitable market leaders, but they’re perceived as part of a dying breed. The PC market is only in decline and Microsoft has no credible properties either online or on mobile. MS and Nokia both have strong brands and distribution networks, especially in the developing world, AKA the only market really left. What they don’t have is brains or strong leadership. Or growth. And for market valuation, growth seems to be everything.
What you get now is a behemoth company with assets like Windows, Skype and now Nokia. Which you could theoretically combine into some awesome cheap-nuts phone for the developing world which offers basically free international calls over data connections. Or you could combine it into some bureaucratic mess which gets nowhere. People that use Windows phones seem to like them. Let’s see if they like them enough. One wonders, however, if Microsoft can do more than just catch up.