October 25, 2014

Microsoft Nokia Acquisition: Good For Small Businesses

microsoft nokia

Yesterday’s news that Microsoft will acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion is probably good news for both Microsoft and Nokia, and also for small businesses.

Naysayers – and there are a lot of them – use words like it’s “too little too late” and that Nokia “can’t save” Microsoft.  For instance, industry observer Vivek Wadhwa sees lots of problems on the horizon for Microsoft. He says the answer is for Microsoft to break itself up into nimbler pieces.

Others, such as Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, see it as a “smart move” but one not likely to be successful because it’s too much of a Hail Mary pass, in his opinion.  If it works, it can win the game.  But chances are high it won’t work, for a variety of reasons.  For example, he notes that the big party in the mobile space has been tablets, but that Nokia has a nonexistent tablet offering.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has tablet offerings, but they have been high priced and slow to catch on.

The Microsoft viewpoint was aptly put in an announcement sent to members of Microsoft’s Voices for Innovation community, by Jonathan Friebert, Microsoft’s public policy manager, who explained:

“This deal adds to the momentum of Windows Phone and will accelerate growth as the next billion people come online using mobile devices. In addition, the transaction provides Microsoft with leading geospatial and mapping technologies. The integration of hardware and software will strengthen the position of the Microsoft ecosystem and provide a wide range of choice to consumers worldwide.”

Why A Microsoft – Nokia Combo is Good For Businesses

For businesses that are Windows shops, having a range of Windows smartphones and tablets is an attractive thing.  It provides a real alternative for businesses.

Apple and Google’s Android dominate the consumer mobile devices market today.  It would be a hard row to hoe, to try to gain substantial market share there. But for business users … by combining forces Nokia and Microsoft have the potential for a stronger offering for the business market.

Businesses need that.  For business users, there’s real benefit to being able to use a phone and tablet that integrate seamlessly with your desktop or laptop  computers.  It’s efficient.  It puts less burden on businesses that use Windows.  There’s less of a learning curve.

When a device makes it easier to conduct business, then small businesses and enterprises have a real reason to choose a Windows smartphone or a Windows tablet.

That’s especially true with tablets. Until recently there was somewhat of a void in the marketplace.  Yes, iPads and Android tablets are fun.  But for business users they have limited business value.   If my own Google Nexus tablet is any example, it tends to get used mainly for entertainment and occasionally on business trips when I have to write something longer than an email with two or three sentences.  It’s not very functional when it comes to the heavy lifting of business work I do.  My little 4-year old netbook computer is unpleasant to use for entertainment purposes, but far more useful than my tablet when it comes to real work, despite being old and slow.  Consequently, I often carry both on business trips — one for watching movies and catching up on email and social media, and the other for real work.

Some think that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia is as much about tablets as smartphones.  It gives Microsoft access to hardware technology and access to Nokia’s distribution network.

To date, Microsoft has had limited success with tablets.  After the market failed to positively receive its stripped down Windows RT tablet, Microsoft reduced the price.  Its Surface tablet with full Windows 8 was better received, but pricey and so Microsoft also dropped the price of the Surface tablet.

Yes, Microsoft was slow to the tablet and smartphone party.  But there really is a place for good Windows phones and good Windows tablets in the business world.  Those that prefer a unified operating system across all their devices were essentially out of luck before Windows tablets and phones. They were forced to pick one of the big industry leaders, Google or Apple, for the operating systems on their mobile devices instead.  Now they could have more options, if the Microsoft – Nokia acquisition is successful. For the sake of business users, we hope this acquisition will lead to more mobile device choices.

Images: Wikipedia

14 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

14 Reactions

  1. I’d love to have a Windows Surface tablet (currently running my work machine on Windows 8 too) but the cost is prohibitive for me. However, I think that Microsoft is making good moves that will pay off eventually. They just have a lot of perception issues to fix and that takes time.

  2. I’d like to see what Microsoft can do to Nokia. Nokia clearly needed a lot of help especially with the entrance of the new Samsung phablets. I am wondering if they can significantly increase its sales. But we will see.

  3. I think the greatest benefit to Microsoft is the infusion of new blood into their business model. Deserved or now, Microsoft has a reputation for being a bit old hat.

  4. Anita:

    The tablet device started out as a work and business tool, e.g., for inventory control, but it never took off. I definitively think it could have a comeback with Microsoft and Nokia together. I would love to see a sturdy tablet with rubber material protection as the case, as a homage to the origin of Nokia; rubber boats and tires.

  5. It should be rubber boots! ;) Maybe Nokia has manufactured boats too!

  6. I really like their idea of choosing a really stable company in mobile phones to leverage their promotion of windows phones. Since the transition to using mobile phones for businesses increased significantly over the years, being one of the branded items in the desktop computing world( for operating systems and softwares ) really increased their fans across the mobile computing world.

    I also have a Lumia here, really nice device.

  7. This acquisition might be handy for Microsoft but I have some few queries to all of you that I would like to be answered. What will the phones be like? How the software and hardware engineers in the company will work together? What happens to other Windows Phone makers? Is this deal anyhow going to affect Google and Android?

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