I haven’t had chance to read any of the coverage around this yet, so this is truly uninformed opinion. The first thing that occurred to me was: what on earth are the non-mobile parts of Nokia? But that’s somewhat beside the point of this post.
The general perception of Nokia is of an old stalwart, a cheap, reliable phone that would last basically forever. The perception of Microsoft, for people (like me) who grew up in the same period, is of an irritating anthropomorphic paperclip, which gets in your way and can be invited to show off.
I think he’s half right. When I think of Nokia, I think of the 3310. But when I think of Microsoft, I think of the annoying software that stops me from getting stuff done efficiently at work.
RIM, makers of the BlackBerry, are in meltdown. Yet the go-to business mobile remains the BlackBerry. There’s one sat on my desk right now. At least in part, that’s because BlackBerries are cheap and hard to destroy: exactly the virtues of the Nokia 3310.
So if Microsoft is smart – and that’s a big if – perhaps they can take BlackBerry’s market share and create a great, highly profitable niche in secure and indestructible business phones that integrate closely with their business software. Of course, this is a shrinking market with the spread of BYOD, but there will always be a core “BlackBerry” market, and it’s likely to always be a fairly highly profitable one, even if it’s small. And with a focus on the corporate customer, with e.g. usage charges rather than regular device refreshes, it’s a need that Microsoft is uniquely well placed to serve at relatively low cost.
Just a thought…