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Which Fading Smartphone Company Is More Valuable To Microsoft, RIM Or Nokia? 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-there-an-option-c dept.
colinneagle writes "Nokia and RIM, the two former leaders in the early smartphone market, are now basically at the end stage of their downward spirals. This is an opportunity for Microsoft, which wants to make some inroads in the smartphone market, assuming Microsoft it can play its cards right. The question is which firm is worth more. Both have their values, especially in the patent areas. In terms of just smartphones, Microsoft would probably gain more from RIM, because it could integrate BlackBerry Enterprise Server into its own server products. Nokia, though, is a much older player and probably has a lot more of a patent portfolio. The question then becomes which is an easier purchase. Nokia is a 150-year-old storied company. The Finns may not be too keen to let it go to an American firm. There is the distinct possibility Microsoft acquires both firms and keeps the best of both worlds for hardware. But where does that leave OEM partners like LG, HTC and ZTE?"
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Which Fading Smartphone Company Is More Valuable To Microsoft, RIM Or Nokia?

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  • Easy - RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#40270025) Homepage Journal

    This is because RIM is 'corporate' orientated, so its a natural for Microsoft. Nokia, is consumer oriented ( Apple's territory )

    But, considering all their handset technology is different, would it be wroth the trouble/money just to get the BES, that wont work with a windows phone anyway?

    More likely they will both just fade away and someone like Google will grab the patents just before they go under water forever.

    • Re:Easy - RIM (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:33PM (#40270149)
      Then again, Nokia has a strong presence around the globe. For instance, this [mtsgsm.com] report indicates that Windows Phone is outselling iPhone in Russia, and there were reports recently (admittedly which originated from Microsoft so obviously to be taken with a large dose of salt) that Windows Phone is outselling the iPhone in China as well.
      • by firex726 (1188453)

        Yea, Nokia does not seem very strong in the US market, but aren't they like the go-to brand for Asia?

        Some of the stuff they put out there is like light years ahead of what we'd have in the US. it's just it's all kind of "beta" and might not work as smoothly as the Western markets would like.

      • Re:Easy - RIM (Score:5, Informative)

        by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:08PM (#40270987)

        Windows phones probably are outselling iPhones in China because the iPhone still has limited carrier selectivity over there at the moment, at least according to all the news reports about Chinese carriers indicating they'll be offering it "soon".

        For example, it's still not on China Mobile (the world's largest cellphone network) as of May 2012: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/electronics/9268854/Worlds-largest-phone-company-China-Mobile-in-iPhone-talks-with-Apple.html [telegraph.co.uk]

        • Re:Easy - RIM (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:40PM (#40271669) Journal

          Windows phones probably are outselling iPhones in China because the iPhone still has limited carrier selectivity.

          There might be other reasons.

          Original samsung i900 8GB/16GB cell phone unlocked Windows 3G 5MP
          Price: US $81.00 - 101.00 / piece

          http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/566727336-original-samsung-i900-8GB-16GB-cell-phone-unlocked-windows-3G-5MP-wholesalers.html [aliexpress.com].

          In lots of 100 or more, you can get them for less than $75. Smaller resellers often package them with a reasonable version of Android pre-installed. I'm guessing they all count as a Windows phone sales.

      • For instance, this [mtsgsm.com] report indicates that Windows Phone is outselling iPhone in Russia,

        IN RUSSIA WINDOWS PHONE SELLS IPHONE OUT!

        er . . . wait

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is because RIM is 'corporate' orientated, so its a natural for Microsoft. Nokia, is consumer oriented ( Apple's territory )

      True but irrelevant - Microsoft would buy both for their patent portfolio, not for their technology.

      • Re:Easy - RIM (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lightknight (213164) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @06:13PM (#40270627) Homepage

        Indeed. The technology itself is non-transferable (it's probably faster to write new apps for a Windows phone than to attempt to port either company's vast repositories of applications). The employees might be worth something, in that their expertise with creating phones makes them a valuable asset; however, since they are not owned by the company, and can easily resign / retire if / when MS attempts to acquire either company, it's probably best to approach them individually, and offer them a job with better pay (which, on the whole, also happens to be cheaper than buying the company).

        So yeah, the employees and the IP are the most valuable items of either company. Their current customers will jump ship as soon as MS announces an intent to acquire the company (no loyalty, haha), and the software is for a platform that MS does not intend to run or emulate on its phones, making it worthless. Its manufacturing assets are also relatively worthless, as they are probably out of date, and would require pointless amounts of capital to bring them up to a competitive position; remember, they're competing against the likes of Foxconn & TSMC, who are somewhat brutal in their controlled costs areas and general inefficiencies.

        That said, the Nokia name is probably the better buy; Nokia has been, in times past, associated with indestructible cellphones (there is a meme about it), and a fair amount of quality control (currently, they are associated with 'not getting their acts together / an inability to fix minor software issues,' which while being bad, is nothing compared to RIM's stupidity). RIM, on the other hand, has had its name dragged through the dirt over any number of software / government issues, which leaves a stench. If MS buys RIM, the Canadian government will love them for a bit, then probably try to tax them more / ask them to 'increase jobs' at the acquired locations (politics). If MS buys Nokia, Finnish government will love them for a bit, then probably try to tax them more / ask them to 'increase jobs' at the acquired locations (politics).

        There is, however, an issue that no one has touched -> is it a good idea for MS to acquire either of them? And the answer is no. For MS to dominate, let alone be competitive, in the phone market, it needs to get in shape; you don't lose weight by eating more. Any merger by MS, of either or both of these companies will result in two things: 1.) the M&A guys patting each other on the back, as they will make out like kings (the WSJ & Reuters will trumpet that the merger is bringing in a new era of 'Mobile Synergy' or some other bullsh*t, only to recant it all later when it's found that 'MS didn't properly integrate the Nokia / RIM units, which is why the gains were never realized'), and 2.) it will be revealed as a failure of leadership when a year later, the news reports that MS overpaid for its acquisitions (compounded by the number of Nokia / RIM employees who, having spent a year at MS, spread their wings for clearer skies...which will be several months before the Windows Mobile unit reports a catastrophic loss of income).

        • Indeed. The technology itself is non-transferable (it's probably faster to write new apps for a Windows phone than to attempt to port either company's vast repositories of applications). T

          It's about hardware, not about software.

    • Obviously Apple should purchase RIM and graft a RIM keyboard onto the next iPhone. It would be revolutionary....in a sick twisted what-if-Frankenstein-and-Nefertiti-had-a-bastard-child kind of way.
    • Yes, MS has already decided to abandon the business segment with WP7 and Win 8. Technically Apple never competed directly with RIM or WinMo. Apple (and later Android) went after the under-served segment of consumer smart phones.
      • by DogDude (805747)
        What are you talking about? Windows Phones are business phones. Windows 8 will be used by 95% of all businesses, just like Windows 7/XP, etc.
        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          What are you talking about? Windows Phones are business phones.

          Microsoft might like to think so, but in the real world, almost all businesses use Blackberries or iPhones.

          Windows 8 will be used by 95% of all businesses, just like Windows 7/XP, etc.

          But 95% of all businesses didn't use Windows Vista. And Windows 8 is shaping up to be another Vista-class stinker. Since Win7 is supported until 2020, why would cost-conscious businesses update to a product that all their IT people know sucks?

        • What are you smoking? MS has said WP7 is a consumer phone. [microsoft.com]

          NEW YORK - Oct. 12, 2010 - The third annual Microsoft Open House kicked off yesterday with Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer’s presentation of Windows Phone 7 as the centerpiece of the company’s holiday lineup of consumer products.

          WP7 has fewer enterprise features than iPhone or WinMo. The only advantage WP7 might have over iPhone is it has Mobile Office but those versions are so crippled that most enterprises don't consider them a plus. As for desktops, enterprises don't have to migrate to Win 8 at all. They skipped Vista. Many of those that adopted Win 7 are not going to the hassle of adopting Win 8 for no reason.

    • by CptPicard (680154)

      I never quite undestood why RIM was so strong in the American corporate market while in the rest of the world it really was all Nokia and Symbian, which has great corporate integration. Nokia's predicament actually comes from ignoring the consumer... Windows Phone is also a step backwards in the corporate sense, but let us hope MS at least leverages Office there.

    • BES is a horrible pile of java shit which is so inefficient and backward in the way it handles things that they would be mad to integrate it. For everything but device lockdown and control ActiveSync is better which is why along with device UI RIM have lost most of their market other than the hardcore fans.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Both but just buy the IP and gut the rest. Neither company is worth squat in todays market but the portfolio will protect MS while they build up a windows handset. They can get fresh talent and start a company from scratch to their specifications.

      fumbles for hysterically ridiculous font

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      This is because RIM is 'corporate' orientated, so its a natural for Microsoft. Nokia, is consumer oriented ( Apple's territory )

      That would make sense, if Microsoft was still thinking logically. But they're not. Steve Ballmer is obsessed with beating Apple, and is completely ignoring his core demographic (business users) to try to take Apple's market share in the consumer-oriented tablet and smartphone business. Nothing else can explain the epic fail that is Windows 8 Metro.

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      This is because RIM is 'corporate' orientated, so its a natural for Microsoft. Nokia, is consumer oriented ( Apple's territory )

      Yeah but the "corporates" are moving to Apple because everyone wants an iPhone.

      A business phone needs to be able to make calls and receive email. Provided those boxes are ticked, all that matters is how much of a perk staff see it as - how much of a consumer product it is. There may well be other corporate advantages to a Blackberry, but the execs want to be able to make calls, get email and have an iPhone. Staff want to be able to make calls, have an iPhone and put up with getting email.

      The only reason I k

  • MS/Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#40270029)

    MS already owns Nokia

    • Re:MS/Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:25PM (#40270359) Homepage

      I was just thinking they should buy RIM outright (analogous to Google buying Motorola Mobility), since they already effectively "own" Nokia without actually having to deal with the regulatory or financial hassles of literally "owning" them.

    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      "[...] assuming Microsoft can play its cards right."

      In other words, to launch a Nokia Android phone. :p

    • by Kartu (1490911)
      Agreed. Otherwise it's hard to justify, why Samsung or HTC can produce both Windows and Android phones, while Nokia must be Microsoft exclusive and that with, cough, Microsoft's non-existing market share...
  • Why choose? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bashibazouk (582054) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:04PM (#40270033) Journal

    Just buy both in a two for one sale!

    • Re:Why choose? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:08PM (#40270061) Homepage Journal

      That would be a really expensive gamble, but one with high potential rewards. Personally, I think you're right. A small- to medium-sized hungry player in the market would probably not think twice about taking such a gamble to make it to the big leagues, but Microsoft is so big, old, and luggish these days that it's in what I call the "protectionist" stage of business operations, which is to minimize risk in lieu of chasing huge payoffs and vastly increasing market share into a segment they're not used to playing in. I doubt they'd even consider such a thing. Too bad too, because it essentially means they will forever be pretty much irrelevant in the mobile market.

      • Not only that, but I doubt they've paid adequate protection money to be able to cram that through the DOJ.

        Give Microsoft another decade or so and they might be able to lunge around with all of their body weight, but for now they have to at least look as if they're behaving.

        Or pay the price.

        Literally.

        • by gtall (79522)

          "Not only that, but I doubt they've paid adequate protection money to be able to cram that through the DOJ." Your evidence for believing such a thing are what, exactly?

      • A small- to medium-sized hungry player in the market would probably not think twice about taking such a gamble to make it to the big leagues, but Microsoft is so big, old, and luggish these days that it's in what I call the "protectionist" stage of business operations, which is to minimize risk in lieu of chasing huge payoffs and vastly increasing market share into a segment they're not used to playing in. I doubt they'd even consider such a thing.

        You're talking about a company that had recently purchased Skype for $8 billion.

  • neither (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neurocutie (677249) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:05PM (#40270039)
    I dont see MS benefiting for buying either. MS has gotten what it needs from its deal with Nokia. If WP doesnt do well under Nokia, RIM isnt going to help.
    • Re:neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:22PM (#40270351) Journal

      I dont see MS benefiting for buying either. MS has gotten what it needs from its deal with Nokia. If WP doesnt do well under Nokia, RIM isnt going to help.

      I do not think that MS has got what it needed; it got what it wanted, and given MS track record in corporate deals, the two are such distant relations that under Catholic law they could marry without dispensation.
      AFAIK, Ballmer wanted to jumpstart MS's phone business, and with this deal he will have some numbers tucked in; but the best comparison is with the deals mobile operators do with Apple: if there's money, it trickles Apple's way, not to the operator's coffers. Then again, in the mobile space MS lacks the factors that make it dominant on the desktop:

      1. huge installed base;
      2.a teeming ecosystem of programs that won't work on other platform;
      3. a HUGE corporate market using his program/services exclusively.

      I am not in Bill Gates' confidence, but given the above, I'd have gone for RIM everytime; it's already in the corporate space as a service, while nokia is there as a product, and as an indifferentiated product at that, just like any other phone, and having had an HTC and a Samsung, I must say that the competition is fierce; the only thing Nokia could have going for it is backward compatibility, which they just sold down the river for a neat billion bucks; my personal bet is that they will go back to producing toilet paper and car tires, maybe with a chapter 11 in between.... unless Ballmer decides to throw bad money after the bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:05PM (#40270043)

    "But where does that leave OEM partners like LG, HTC and ZTE?"

    The same place where every Microsoft partner ends up.

    • by davester666 (731373) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:06PM (#40270271) Journal

      ...face down in the mud, with a sore ass...

      • by 1s44c (552956) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:30PM (#40270387)

        ...face down in the mud, with a sore ass...

        ...And losing blood fast...

        As far as I can remember it's been the same for every company that has dealt with Microsoft. Nokia really self-destructed on that one.

        • by blippo (158203)

          I think the first faceplant was to totally misjudge Apples ability to turn the iPod into an iPhone.
          Anyone with a clue could tell that it was going to happen, but that it was packaged so good was probably a surprise for all.

          Steve Jobs had a passion for product design, and that passion included the software and UI.
          Anyone that have uses an old Nokia or any other pre-apple "smart" phone would notice rather soon
          that there is no passion involved at all. They were (and are) made by people writing "use-cases" and

          • Why do you hate use cases? Sketching out what people are going to do with a product is a useful step in designing an interface to making doing that task easier.

            You aren't one of these UX plonkers are you?

        • by gtall (79522)

          Really? I'm certainly no MS lover. However, to suggest that every company working with MS has come to tears is simply ridiculous. MS partners with hundreds of companies. The only ones that have a sore ass are the few you've read about because they've raised a bitch. MS partners with Apple, IBM, Intel, any of the box makers, etc. Them are only the big ones, there are innumerable small ones. That's what makes MS so hard to eradicate.

  • I highly doubt OEMs took WP7 seriously. Samsung has clearly prioritized the Galaxy (Android) line. HTC also bet on Android. ZTE isn't big enough to make a difference in most markets and LG is pretty much invisible.

    Besides, they'll probably get more money by licensing patents to Android users than by selling WP7 on phones that don't sell.

    • I think the other OEMs make WP7 phones to avoid the patent and licensing threats of MS. Also it hedges their bets in case MS puts out a winner or if Google screws them over.
    • by kesuki (321456)

      apparently you missed the iphone siri ranking the nokia 900 as the 'best' smartphone. google does it too, if you block/ignore the ads above it.

  • Why buy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mveloso (325617) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:08PM (#40270063)

    Why buy at all? Not everyone has to be like Apple.

    People think this stuff is easy - but Nokia's having issues and it's 150 years old. RIM knew its market too. Why would Microsoft be any different?

    Apple makes it look easy, but it isn't. Look at the corpses strewn behind the iPhone, iPod, and iPad and you'll see some of the best companies of the era. And Apple has just started, or so they'd lie you to think.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463)

      Why buy at all?

      Patents. Microsoft can use the patents to hold back their competitors. If they don't buy, those patents will go to someone else who will use them to hold back Microsoft.

      Not everyone has to be like Apple.

      Yes they do. You can't just opt out of patent wars. Until the system is reformed, you have to play both offense and defense aggressively.

      • Re:Why buy? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:51PM (#40270223)
        Microsoft's competitors also have patents. Some of which probably also apply to the desktop too. Microsoft is as much at risk by a patent war as Apple. It is Mutual Assured Destruction and why the Big Boys don't usually attack each other over patents (they use them to crush smaller players and individual inventors - completely counter to the original intents of patents, but that is how the system is being used now [down with idea/software patents!]).
      • by mveloso (325617)

        If the patents were worth something, don't you think RIM and Nokia would already be in court trying to monetize them?

        Also from what I remember, Apple already has licensed the appropriate patents from Nokia.

      • by kesuki (321456)

        "You can't just opt out of patent wars, unless you are france."

        fixed that for you.

    • why is it that every failing company that gets in the news, a bunch of wacks jump up with hands in the air, saying, "Ooh! Ooh! I know who should buy this outfit!"

      answer: NOBODY buys them. they're FAILING. they are CRAP. you are BURNING YOUR MONEY.

      patents are cheaper in chapter-7.

  • by anandrajan (86137) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:08PM (#40270065) Homepage
    Thought this already happened. In any case, Tomi Ahonen has a long, detailed, analysis [blogs.com]. Too long for me to read, sorry.
    • by Lisias (447563)

      Didn't Microsoft swallow Nokia already?

      As a matter of fact, it appears to me that Nokia had swallowed Microsoft, after sucking its... uh... Forget about. =P

  • Buy two losers! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by matunos (1587263) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:09PM (#40270071)

    Anything to avoid creating a good product themselves, amiright?

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Anything to avoid creating a good product themselves, amiright?

      Not 'to avoid'. It's not something they thought about and decided it's too much like hard work, it's something they know they are unable to do.

      Microsoft buys innovation and passes it off as their own invention. It's always been that way.

      • by matunos (1587263)

        Yeah, but they used to buy promising technology, not companies already on the way down.

        The only reason to buy Nokia or RIM would be to go patent trolling.

  • Good luck trying to buy both and getting it approved by the FTC and its European and Chinese equivalents.

    My bet is for Microsoft to try for RIM. Who knows, Facebook may even try for a merger with one of these companies.

    • by MachDelta (704883)

      Chinese? You know that RIM is Canadian, right?

      • Chinese? You know that RIM is Canadian, right?

        Of course, major corporate buy-outs need to be approved by the FTC, China and Europe these days.

        See Google's buy-out of Motorola Mobility.

  • Nokia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CockMonster (886033) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:21PM (#40270127)
    I worked for Nokia when the MS alliance was announced. Elop is ex-MS, he brought in some higher management from MS. The company is already drinking the MS kool-aid internally, the takeover is complete in every way except financially. Nokia shareholders would not object to getting the company out of Finland, it's expensive to hire people there and expensive to fire them. Fortunately for MS a whole lot have already been fired.
  • I hope MS buys RIM and we can watch both of them fail out of the phone market, meanwhile they leave Nokia alone so they can go back to making awesome Linux phones from the n900/N9 line. Perfect!

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      I hope MS buys RIM and we can watch both of them fail out of the phone market, meanwhile they leave Nokia alone so they can go back to making awesome Linux phones from the n900/N9 line. Perfect!

      I have a n900 and it's awesome. It would be wonderful if Nokia kept on making great things but I fear their MS bias has already killed them.

    • I hope MS buys RIM and we can watch both of them fail out of the phone market, meanwhile they leave Nokia alone so they can go back to making awesome Linux phones from the n900/N9 linethat nobody gives a damn about. Perfect!

      nokia has been making geek phones since its inception. when iphone was launched this geek userbase betrayed nokia, and you suggest nokia to go back to try and please them? no, the best way forward is to make good consumer-oriented, mass-market phones.

  • This leaves Microsoft partners where Microsoft partners have always been ... Useful right up until Microsoft decides to steal your lunch, and go it alone.

    They have done this numerous times and will continue to do so. Partnering with them has always been a two edged sword.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      This leaves Microsoft partners where Microsoft partners have always been ... Useful right up until Microsoft decides to steal your lunch, and go it alone.

      They have done this numerous times and will continue to do so. Partnering with them has always been a two edged sword.

      I think you are putting it a little too mildly. Microsoft eat their partners from the inside out. When there is nothing more of interest to them they leave the remains to die.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        I was trying to avoid sounding like "ZOMG, teh Micro$oft is teh evil"

        But, yes, generally partnering with them means they milk you for all the subject knowledge they can get, and then build a competing product after a few years.

        I worked for a company who was a strategic partner with Microsoft. They suck you dry and leave and then you now have them as a competitor ... Which, depending on the product can take a while to catch up, but they keep grinding at it.

        Sadly I bet there's quite a few examples of this.

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:47PM (#40270213)

    The premise of the article is that by purchasing a smartphone company then Microsoft would gain assets that will help them gain traction in smartphones. This is simply not going to work and a waste of shareholder assets. Microsoft is not gaining traction with their own phone because the ideas they have that work (or worked) for them on the desktop are not desired by customers looking at mobile phones - but they treat the phone very similarly to the desktop (who wants to have Office capabilities on their phone? no-one). Despite Microsoft generating enormous profits they can't get enough new ideas out that customers want. Buying an ailing smartphone company that also does have enough new ideas is hardly going to help them get new ideas that would affect their smartphone market penetration to the tune of their investment.

    IMHO Microsoft should be looking at shoring up its desktop rather than fighting Android (Linux!) and Apple on phones. That battle is pretty much lost for them. By focussing on phones Microsoft seem a bit distracted from their core area of desktop - which has allowed Windows 8 to garner very unfavourable reviews. Concentrate on what you are good at Microsoft! By obsessing over growth they are starting to lose focus, making the new desktop experience worse, and rather than maintaining their high profits they are at risk of negative growth - especially if developers decide Anrdoid desktop or OS X are worthwhile targets for their desktop products (as well as smartphone apps), since the people will also follow. Windows 8 is a muddle of ideas and less suited to the existing users than Windows 7 (hint: tablets and desktops shouldn't have the same experience, one is for content consumption and the other for content creation and their needs are different - don't lose sight of this!).

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:39PM (#40270435)
      MS is trying to avoid a future where the move to mobile leaves them behind if they focus only on desktop. The problem for MS is that despite a ten year head start on tablets and phones, they are behind the likes of Apple and Android. Instead of forging a separate effort in mobile, MS has decided to forcibly capture a large number of future mobile developers by pushing them to design for Metro by making Win 8 default to Metro.
    • what is a phone other than a computer in a tiny case. The main problems are screen size and input.
      solve these and it might replace your desktop and it would be with you all day not in a bag but just a pocket.

      do you really think a phone isnt powerful enough to do word processing for example. It is the io which is a problem now i could see that solved in the next few years

      • I agree with you. The problem is not computational power but screen real estate and physical space for input devices. But even if you did have more screen real estate would you really want to do a spreadsheet on your phone? for most people the answer is no. But Microsoft doesn't seem to grok this very well - they insist on trying to make you phone like a desktop (eg. phones with query buttons) when it clearly is not. Given the UI design fiasco with the latest Visual Studio it appears Microsoft has lost focu
      • Yes, it is the IO that is the problem. And if you solve all the IO problems of a phone you'll get either a desktop or a neural implant.

        Are you sugesting that MS should be researching neural implants?

  • Neither (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @05:01PM (#40270255)

    Apple is proving neither is relevant outside of their patent portfolios.

    Nokia is using Windows because its own software stack is worthless and it has been having trouble producing a credible handset. The Lumia is nice but is not really competitive.

    RIM's software stack is notoriously bad - hence the death march to BB 10. Its hardware is woefully not competitive and its business phone moat seems to be evaporating very quickly as Apple is demonstrating that it is taking security and enterprise deployment and provisioning very seriously (the recent security white paper as a case in point) - convincingly enough that Fortune 500 companies are dumping BB in favor of iPhones.

    Given that Microsoft is already in bed with Nokia it is likely cheaper and less risky for MS to bankroll Nokia for a while in the hopes that it lifts off the ground than to buy it outright. RIM on the other hand, offers nothing.

  • ... and the Finns aren't going to be happy about handing it over to Americans. But RIM is a Canadian company and Canada won't just hand Americans .....

    .... Oh wait. Never mind.

  • Neither... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barfy (256323)

    They are not trying to be Apple, but more like Google. They are not attempting to make a play like Xbox, but rather a massive infrastructure play. RIM provided an interesting value proposition at the time. They would send somebody to install a thing in your server room that let the mail work on the phone. This was HUGE. Microsoft is attempting to not require RIM by making their mail servers aware that they are talking to a phone. And that they will be first class with Hotmail, and possible with Yahoo

    • Android is simply too lasses faire and requires too much learning for your non-geek and simply doesn't "work" yet.

      Citation needed. My wife seems to be able to operate her Android without any trouble. Why is being laissez-faire a problem? And what particulary "doesn't work"? Market share is a hard thing to measure, but by at least some metrics, Android is outcompeting iOS [zdnet.com] fairly substatially.

    • Android is simply too lasses faire and requires too much learning for your non-geek and simply doesn't "work" yet.

      The majority of smartphone owners would disagree...

      Android works for Joe Random just like Windows. He has no idea what the system can do, but has some friend that knows how to set it up, and then, he is perfectly capable of using it. By the way, it is funny that you acuse Android of being lasser faire, as that was the single characteristic that made Windows win.

  • RIM, to get the business market which MS does OK in. If it bought Nokia, then Nokia would go the way that most MS consumer stuff goes, down the plug-hole.

  • by hey! (33014)

    This summary reads like a corporate soap opera.

  • Microsoft needs to focus on raising its shareprice right now. If Gates & Balmer didn't own a majority stake, Balmer would be canned already.

    The stock price has not moved in a decade and investors are getting impatient. They need to save cash, cut expenses, and invest wisely in what will bring back more capital and liquid assets. An expensive several billion buyout will lower the value of the company and hurts its shareprice more.

    I do not see the value?

    Worse, the other handset makers like HTC will shit t

  • by khipu (2511498) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#40270605)

    Google needs a big patent portfolio to beat down Apple and Microsoft; they should buy both Nokia and RIM. Microsoft has done a great job depressing the Nokia stock price. And if Google buys them, they can really kick Windows 8 Phone down, given that Microsoft has bet on Nokia. Oh, and they can fire Elop too.

  • My company just shopped for new smartphones. We ended up with Android based because of limited phone selection (CDMA, yay). The windows phones looked so unbelievably non-business friendly, it took about 10 minutes to rule them out. But, I will say that the article is horribly wrong. Blackberry Enterprise Server is THE software from hell. It's one giant memory leak that runs slow, doesn't work half the time, has the worst interface imaginable, and would have to be completely rewritten from the ground up
  • "...market, assuming Microsoft it can play its..." Really?

  • by RubberDogBone (851604) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:50PM (#40271689)

    RIM is practically a national asset of Canada. In its glory days, it would have been inconceivable to consider selling RIM to a foreign interest -much less an uncouth and arrogant American one. Now that RIM is crippled and tumbling down the stairs of doom, it is no longer inconceivable, but there still would be extensive conditions on the sale, such as retaining so many employees in Waterloo, or having the Canadian government own a big share of the company, etc.

    There is virtually no scenario under which MSFT could buy the whole thing outright and do with it whatever they want. Which is exactly what MSFT would want. They don't need or want the handsets or the fab lines or warehouses full of handsets. They want the IP. Canada Inc. is not going to allow that stripmining sale and MSFT knows it, or else they would have bought the place years ago.

    The only way for a clean IP sale would be if RIM collapses completely, and the government stays out of it (unlikely; they will probably prop it up and meddle) and the bits and parts go up for public sale to highest bidder. In that case, MSFT can come rolling in with a pile of cash and just outbid everybody -of course everybody else will know that's going on and drive the bids higher. But it could be done. MSFT knows this and they don't want to get caught in the bidding mess.

    I expect to be wrong but I just don't see a way for MSFT to do the acquisition they way they theoretically would want to do. Who could? Some sort of white knight Canadian company or a group of companies with cash could buy RIM and that would bypass all the nationalism problems. No idea who that could be or if their investors would scream. Buying RIM is an invitation to lose a lot of money AND the buyer still has to gut the company. Nobody is going to buy RIM and still want to make the products. They have no value and buying the company is not in any way going to change the fact that BlackBerry is dying.

    Nokia has similar problems in Finland, but they haven't made a lot or friends lately. The nationalism is probably a lot lower now. The layoffs have been bitter and unpleasant. MSFT might have a better shot at either a joint venture or outright buy . But there is a LOT of Nokia that has nothing to do with the things MSFT wants. What would happen to all those other parts of the company? Does MSFT gobble up the IP and close the doors? It's not going to be easy.

    Meanwhile, MSFT is in danger of spending too much time and money on these companies. It will distract them from their key mission and it could be argued that they have enough problems already staying on mission. A botched RIM or Nokia buy could infect MSFT itself similar to how AOL and Time Warner looked good on paper and was a disaster in action. Sprint and Nextel. Compaq and HP. SBC and ATT and all the others that got gobbled up by the "new" ATT.

    Sometimes the sum of parts is a negative number.

  • Why do you think Microsoft wants to be a Phone manufacturer?
  • The Finns may not be too keen to let it go to an American firm

    The Finns cannot do anything about this, as these matters have been handed over to the European Union. The UE likes free trade (this is not a political choice of the people, this is carved in UE treaties), but it dislike trusts that may hamper competition, therefore I am not sure of the outcome.

  • Microsoft still need a tame hardware manufacturer, but they don't actually want to make phones, largely because the Europeans would never actually let them. So long as Nokia is, at least in theory, an independent company, everyone is cool. Nokia's patents are also unnecessary, partially because the whole endless destructive war thing has already happened and also because it would be Nokia actually being sued.

    As for RIM, I don't think anyone really wants that company. They aren't corporate anymore, they're B

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