back to article Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's phones business – which outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has since described as a way for Redmond "to accelerate" – appears to be an attempt to add another weapon to its anti-Google arsenal. Ballmer is quoted as saying: "By the early part of this year it was clear to me that perhaps acquisition would …

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        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Google doesn't really care what platform you use its products with...

          It only cares the platform you use runs its Javascript code. That's why it doesn't like native apps it didn't write, how can it gather any data it founds, otherwise?

    1. h3

      Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

      I think Nokia's Maps are better than Googles for the most part.

      You can use them completely offline for a start.

      And it always knows the side of the road the house is on and stops you near it.

      (So does Navigon on Android but it is not cheap).

      1. h3

        Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

        And the Web version of Bing maps has Ordinance Survey which are hands down the best maps for the UK.

        Another thing the WP7 keyboard can be operated 100% perfectly no matter how hammered you are.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

        I have used google Maps on android phones for navigation and Here maps on Nokia Lumias and I can honestly tell you (and I LOVE google maps) that Nokia's Here maps are better.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

      You are wrong about maps. Google Maps is pretty poor, at least as an in-car navigational device, considering their massive investment. In fact I stopped using Tom Tom in favour of Ovi/Nokia maps.

      1. alan buxey

        Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

        I moved to Waze about 6 months back and havent looked back (no navigation puns intended). its just a pity that all of these 'upstarts' arent as good as Nokia Maps regarding the simple download/install of a foreign country to avoid any roaming charges!

    3. John-IT-Guru

      Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

      MS provides what we need?

      Amazing brain washing job!

      Need or locked down into?

      LOCKED DOWN INTO is the reality.

      So you enjoy living in a prison you pay for?

      Interesting.

      I escaped the Redmond lockdown in 2001 with Linux.

      I've been a free man ever since!

  1. DJO Silver badge

    Smart phone from dumb people

    Yet another tactic from Uncle Fester that's doomed to fail, you'd think that the time he spent at the top of one of the biggest companies would have taught him something but this is Uncle Fester the arrogancemeister so I suppose not.

    The way to dominate a market is not by reacting to competitors but by producing the best (or the most popular - popular & best are not synonyms) product, if you put all your focus into reaction you'll always be at least one step behind.

    So Microsoft, don't try to beat Google at their own game but step up your own, make Windows 9 a game changing market leader, listen to what the users actually want and not what you think they should want.

    But realistically the Microsoft brand is tarnished and I really think there is an incredible amount of work needed to make them even slightly fashionable, perhaps they should concentrate on their core business products and leave the domestic & leisure markets to those who know what they are doing, perhaps MS could invest in such companies as a silent partner, reaping the profit without any effort as for them a billion here or there is a pretty trivial fiscal risk.

    1. dogged
      Stop

      Re: Smart phone from dumb people

      But what El Reg's legion of script-reading support-drones want is Windows 7.

      There is no money to be made from Windows 7.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart phone from dumb people

      Eadon is that you?

    3. Robert Forsyth

      Re: Smart phone from dumb people

      Or get your marketing department to "create" a market in which you can be number one - like unique towns in Britain: the only town which has ... (then a long list of attributes) two public conveniences in the town square.

      None of the ancient US software makers seemed to have properly integrated their services they have acquired, I think Apps on a phone are a red herring they typically only provide a "port hole" to one service - Android SDK does have the concept of providing a service to be used by many screen interfaces. MS Office applications played together poorly, obviously written by different (competing) teams, although I accept Excel was about fast calculation and not text layout like Word - there goals were different - is this the US psyche jocks competing and not sharing and helping each other?

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Smart phone from dumb people

        "Excel was about fast calculation and not text layout like Word"

        In theory, yes. In practice, most people are using Excel as a layout tool. MS figured it out quite well.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart phone from dumb people

      > The way to dominate a market is not by reacting to competitors but by producing the best (or the most popular - popular & best are not synonyms) product

      'Best' products *never* win in the software industry. Somewhere out there there is a parallel universe where best products do win and I want to live there.

      1. Belardi

        Re: Smart phone from dumb people

        If we were in that world, we'd be using Amiga computers. MS & PC would have died out in the 80s... mostly, with MS being a software programming company.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

    It only got licences to Nokia's patent portfolio and didn't get to buy it, so it's old game of feck you over with bullshit patents isn't on the cards for them here.

    Another issue here is just what are other makers of W8 tablets and phones going to make of this ? I think the it just may end up being a Nokia only show.

    Personally I hope MS get burnt here as any company who's (soon to be ex) CEO describes FOSS as a cancer is a real insult to cancer patients. Imagine some day in the future Ballmer gets cancer and the Linux powered Radiotherapy machine saves his life. Maybe then he just might choose his metaphors better such as "This is a real threat to our cosy monopoly and may seriously lower the price of computing for the masses".

    I hope Elop gets the CEO's job and falls flat on his arse as just rewards for doing MS's dirty work for them and canning the excellent Meego. If I were an institutional investor I would be asking some hard questions about Elop's actions at Nokia and just how much of a proxy he was.

    1. Mark .

      Re: One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

      And then there was the guy who said he wanted to destroy the most successful version of Linux, using software patents to do so - look what happened to him...

      1. dogged

        Re: One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

        He went with homeopathy and, like all who have a genuine illness and go with homeopathy, died.

        This (faith in homeopathy) would imply that he was an idiot. Or that maybe through long immersion in marketing, he had become susceptible to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

      Another crucial thing they didn't get - the Nokia brand name, oops.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

      You really want a world without MS? Imagine it properly, not with your rose tinted spectacles.

      While Ballmer's cancer remark was in poor taste, YOU actually manage to stoop lower by trying to wish it on a person. Listen, a lesson to use for the rest of you life - and I won't even charge you for it - HATE takes energy. If you don't like someone, fine. If they are not worth your time, why are they worth wasting your energy on?

      Instead of hating Ballmer or anyone else, why not put that energy into doing something NICE for someone or maybe even doing BETTER than Ballmer?

      You liked Meego? Do you lament all the lovely extinct animals? This is evolution and whether you like it or not, it WILL carry on regardless of your opinion which matters not one jot to the behemoth of progress.

      This is like complaining that they stopped making your favourite flavour of Angel Delight and wishing a pox upon their houses. Grow.......up.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: One Crucial Thing MS Didn't Get

        > You really want a world without MS? Imagine it properly, not with your rose tinted spectacles.

        Sure. There has never been a time that I have not viewed the Microsoft alternative of something as inferior and undesirable. It's only their monopoly lock on desktop PCs that ever allowed them to shove their crap down people's throats. As soon as you give people a chance to pick something else they will.

        The failure of Windows on phones and tablets and phones is a clear demonstration of this. So is the limited success of Windows in the server room.

        Allow people a choice and they will choose something else.

        > HATE takes energy

        I more pity Microsoft these days. There are less impotent threats to worry about these days.

  3. sabroni Silver badge

    no one has beaten it at anything significant yet.

    Google+ is beating Facebook? Or facebook is insignificant?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "facebook is insignificant?"

      That is a deeper question than the number of users and/or revenue!

      1. dogged

        Re: "facebook is insignificant?"

        It is, I agree.

        But Google+ is also pretty insignificant (except in terms of annoying Google users). Perhaps that's where the equation lies on this one.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Facebook is not insignificant, but only Facebook has managed to monetize Facebook.

      So, from a business point of view, Facebook is neither a threat nor a competitor for Microsoft.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: no one has beaten it at anything significant yet.

      Google+ is beating Facebook? Or facebook is insignificant?

      More like Fakebook users are insignificant!

  4. Mark .

    "Since Google has become the business juggernaut it is today, no one has beaten it at anything significant yet."

    Although MS doesn't lose on all the comparisons - ChromeOS is a long way to taking on Windows's 91% share; and how do Office and Google Docs compare?

    I mean, I think it is interesting to note that things are lining up with lots of common products between MS and Google, but whilst MS lose hopelessly on some (e.g., Search), they are ahead on others. Clearly, MS does beat Google on desktop/laptop OS market share.

    Not that it has to matter for us. I use Windows and Android; I use One Note and Sky Drive on my Android devices, and Chrome and Google search, maps on Windows. Just don't try to lock me into one company (or "ecosystem", as the marketing types would say).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will Google...

    Get in a bidding war for Nokia or their patents?

    Maybe they will just make sure MS pays a lot more for Nokia?

    Google overpaid for Motorola and they might make MS overpay for Nokia, just for the fun of it!

    1. Big_Ted
      Facepalm

      Re: Will Google...

      Don't you just love it when AC's post without reading the article etc.

      MS are buying Nokias phone making business.

      Nokia are keeping the patents, Maps and all other business.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blackberry next ?

      Except that Nokia is more or less free to start up a new smartphone division. They are about to find themselves with a lot of cash. Microsoft hasn't bought Nokia - lock, stock and barrel. They've made a business deal with Nokia, to take over a large part of their current phone division and to allow themselves to produce these phones and others of the same branding (this includes licensing the patents for said phones).

      I hear something about 2015 and Nokia not using their own brand for smartphones till then, which is why I say "more or less free" - but I am not sure how this works exactly.

      Either way - with Nokia's experience 1½-2 years might be exactly what they need in order to come out with a superb smart-phone to change the game completely.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blackberry next ?

          Microsoft still made record revenue though!

          They might loose a few battles, but my money is on them eventually wining the OS and ecosystem war....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blackberry next ?

        The agreement prevents Nokia from making any sort of Phone for 2 years.

        By that time the OS and ecosystem battle will be mostly over imo - and Microsoft will likely already be 1st or 2nd largest player...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blackberry next ?

      Yes, sad, but...is it not better that Nokia SURVIVES and perhaps even THRIVES?

      If Nokia hadn't sat on its hands all these years when they were no1 in mobile phones, they wouldn't have been in this position, which I hasten to add, has been a LOT better with windows phone!

      RIM or Blackberry or whatever they are calling themselves have done the same and watch them scoot down the nearest plughole unless someone buys them.

      Apple's empire (like the Roman) has reached it's biggest, it will now shrink, and what THEY must do is defend its borders in a smaller niche. The 5C is another gambit, treading the ground Jobs forbade.

      This will ultimately, be a GOOD thing for Nokia / MS / us. Three choices are better than TWO choices.

      1. John-IT-Guru

        Re: Blackberry next ?

        3rd choice? Really?

        Maybe if you want to buy a Reboot-A-Phone virus trap I guess then it is a 3rd choice.

        But the World has already voted with their wallets NOT to buy anything made by MicroKlunk.

  7. Andrew Moore

    Also in the news...

    Hedge Funds who hoped to make a killing by short-selling Nokia have been heavily hit. Figures are indicating that they've probably lost in the region of $640m with Discovery Capital Management LLC being the biggest casualty.

    1. dogged

      Re: Also in the news...

      Good. Also, fuck 'em.

  8. john devoy

    Nokia basically is wp8

    Nokia is the only windows phone maker that takes the market seriously, a few others released products then sat twiddling their thumbs; I'd like to see the windows phone platform go Nokia only so development speed can increase and updates can be pushed out globally on the same date the way Apple does it, at the moment updates trickle out over ridiculously long periods.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nokia basically is wp8

      A nice idea, but the reason Apple can do this is because they were customer centric (give the customer what they want before they even know they want it), and they were retail consumer focused (ie not business).

      MS are now trying to play in too many markets, they still have an enterprise software bias, and they never, ever listen to customers. You think that'll change anytime soon?

      I'm afraid this is just normal big company M&A - an onanistic activity indulged in by the boards of companies who want a diversion from problems in the core business that require hard work and pain. I know, my employers went on an ill judged European acquisition spree that required multi billion write downs, left the company hugely indebted, and forcing it to sell some of the good businesses it did have, and throw tens of thousands of employees out the door, and left us with a whole range of rag-bag assets in markets where we had neither scale nor purpose. Meanwhile the core business festered for a decade whilst these shenanigans played out, and is now under all out attack from various quarters, and the board still don't know what to do about it.

      We'll hear the usual management consultant bullshit about "synergies" and growth. But they always say that. In blunt terms, what will MS be able to do that Nokia's management weren't? Both had unfavoured phone OSs, both had respectable cash piles to support development, both were dependant upon past glories. As the lower end Chinese handset makers show, anybody can knock out a basically competent handset in hardware. What does Nokia bring to the MS party?

      Lets face it, all the manufacturing has (or will) end up in China, all the software development will be done in the states, and they won't need many Finn's to specify future phones, inevitably based on something like LG or Sharp touchscreen, Qualcomm and ARM baseband processors, Hynix memory modules, TI and CSR chips for the extra functionality, LG battery, ST Micro accelerometer & compass, and somebody else's camera.

      The really remarkable thing is why MS didn't specify their own phone and have somebody else make it, just as Apple have done. No multi-billion assets at risk, can be quietly trialled under another name whilst you practice, and you have access to your OEM's expertise in phone making. Apple aren't the only virtual manufacturer, ARM, CSR, Imagination Technologies have all made a success of this on the inside of the phone. But all the people actually assembling phones are suffering the same fate as the PC assemblers, fighting over wafer thin margins and often making a loss because there's no barriers to entry in this market. And failing to learn the lessons of their own success, MS are buying into exactly the wrong part of the value chain, and doing it at the wrong time.

      1. dogged
        Headmaster

        Finn's?

        See me after class.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Finn's?

          What a bunch of Knuts!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sergey Brin's shenanigans with the ladies suggests he's not 100% focussed on Google. First crack in the Chocolate Factory dam?

  10. James 51

    The title is too long.

    "Since Google has become the business juggernaut it is today, no one has beaten it at anything significant yet."

    Does social networking count?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title is too long.

      "anything significant" = Only the stuff Google is good at.

      If we count stuff that Google doesn't do so well as significant, then someone would've beaten them and the circular logic would fail!

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: The title is too long.

      My impression is that Facebook got there first (after whipping a few earlier ones) and Google are playing catchup, just as MS is with phones. MS success in phones probably will parallel, more or less, Google's in social networking.

      1. Eguro
        Joke

        Re: The title is too long.

        So you're saying it'll be short, ugly and used only by MS employees?

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: My impression is that Facebook got there first

        First after MySpace? That'd be second then.

  11. Anonymous Dutch Coward
    Mushroom

    Ballmer's oracular statements

    "By the early part of this year it was clear to me that perhaps acquisition would be a way to accelerate."

    So it was clear to you that something may potentially lead to something else.... or in other words: "it was clear to me that acquisition could also decelerate [insert whatever it is]".

    Very insightful.

    As to what is being accelerated... well, I'd rather not speculate.

    "I called [Nokia board of directors chairman] Risto [Siilasmaa] right after the first of the year sometime in January, early February. "

    The first WHAT of the year? Public beheading of underperforming VPs? Bonfire? What?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Ballmer's oracular statements

      I can fill in one of the blanks for your. Ballmer was talking about accelerating Windows Phone's momentum. As the WP's market share is falling, Ballmer expects the purchase of Nokia to accelerate that decline. I have every confidence in Elop's ability to release a new phone that is less successful than Lumia. If he and Ballmer work at it together, they might even do worse than Kin.

      Microsoft has been spending a billion a year to get into the mobile market. I think the budget just got increased to ten billion per year. The next flop is going to be spectacular.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real patent threat is from Nokia

    If nokia no longer make phone sthere is no reason for them not to try and extract the maximum value from everyone who still does make phones. The phone manufacturers cannot use there own patents in defence because Nokia no longer makes phones. This could get very nasty and may be part of the plan.

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