It’s been a loooong time, but the moment everyone was waiting for is finally here. Stephen Elop’s work is done, and crippled, bloodied, slightly twitching corpse of previously all-powerful cell phone giant Nokia has been sold off to the Microsoft for a measly 5.66 Billion Euro in cash.
Measly, because just a little while ago Microsoft has bought Skype for more than that ($8.5 billion, to be more precise). The Moor has done his duty. The Moor can go.
Now, will it change anything on the market, and what does it mean to Windows Phone platform? I don’t think it means much. Up until Now Nokia seemed to be in a daze, absolutely sure that they are “winning” and that magical moment when everyone is going to use Windows Mobile phone is just a few months away. Well, that short distance just kept getting longer. Yes, thanks to Nokia, WP made some progress by convincing feature phone owners to give it a try (and purging all other manufacturers from the Windows Phone market). But iPhone and Android users didn’t march into stores to demand their
MTV Windows Phone, and so far nothing on the platform seems to be convincing enough to entice them to switch.
I believe the Metro UI is just not attractive to that many users. It’s not bad, but it has a rather steep learning curve. And given absolute rigidity of the platform in UI aspects, those who don’t like the way phone looks have no choice but to turn to Android (or iPhone). Forcing users to learn by bolting Metro onto Windows also didn’t seem to go over well, so now we know that theory “users will love it if only they were forced to use it” isn’t correct either. Otherwise we’d see massive spike as soon as Windows 8 went live on new computers (instead the new computers’ sales went down, and even tablets with Windows RT, that are supposed to be replacing the computers, are not selling that well).
Hopefully WP will persevere and offer an alternative to Android/iPhone duopoly (especially given how hard Blackberry crashed) — three is always better than one. I may not like it, but I know a few people who enjoy their phones, and a new option is always good to have. It’s just sad that Nokia’s potential was wasted so dramatically. And yes, I would love Nokia’s hardware to run Android, but now that will never happen, for obvious reasons…
Now, on a more technical (and somewhat paranoid) side of things is the part where Microsoft gets to have a bunch of Nokia’s patents. And when silly users will continue to ignore wonders of WP world, they may get tempted to try to kill off the competition. Or at least squeeze as much money as possible, so I expect Android manufacturers to nervously flick through their address book looking for patent lawyer’s number.