The Wall Street Journal says Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s mobile business is a bold move to challenge Apple and Samsung in the mobile device wars.
Bold is a stretch. Nokia is running out of cash. Obvious. Necessary. Inevitable. Late. Those are better descriptions. And, oh, one more: insufficient.
It’s insufficient and not just because Nokia only sold 20m units in the last 12 months in comparison to Apple’s 143 million and Android’s 580 million. It’s insufficient because Microsoft has failed to make the case to developers that its WinRT (Windows8) platform is worth developing for.
When I started our WinRT development efforts at Tempworks last year, I was more optimistic. Microsoft was predicting 500 million device market by next year, and the initial apps we did looked really nice. Better looking than our functionally similar iPhone apps, and far more stable than our apps that run on the highly fragmented Android platform. Fast forward one year and I’ve ditched my Windows phone (few of the apps on it were friendly to use), my Surface tablet gets little use (ok, my teenager likes it for Skype), and I’m still struggling as a desktop user of Windows8.
All that to say that Microsoft will not fare any better with Nokia or any other acquisition until it can win back the hearts of developers.