So the big news of the moment is that Nokia is selling it’s Devices & Services business to Microsoft.
The deal is “expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions”.
After the deal has taken place (according to the press release) Nokia will focus on network infrastructure, mapping and location services and “Advanced Technologies”.
After the deal closes, it will mean about 32,000 people will transfer to Microsoft which includes about 4,700 people in Finland. Microsoft will own “all Nokia Devices & Services production facilities”.
Microsoft will also get a 10 year non-exclusive license to Nokia patents.
So What Could This Mean?
So this might mean that we can expect Microsoft branded phones in the future, much like the Microsoft branded Surface. It could be seen as further evidence that Microsoft is looking to be to in (non-exclusive) control of the “full stack”: it makes the hardware and the software that runs on it (at least in the “mobility” aka phones and tablet space).
Possible Challenges and Concerns
Microsoft sometimes gets criticism over it’s marketing, it seems “marketing activities” are part of the deal. If Nokia marketing people are retained, will they be absorbed into the greater marketing team or remain phone-centric? Regardless, it could bring a set of new marketing talent and ideas into Microsoft which could be of benefit to Microsoft as a whole and not just the phone marketing team.
It’s unclear if or how Nokia initiatives such as DVLUP might be affected. It could be of benefit if Microsoft can effectively absorb the Nokia developer resources into MSDN or some other place.
Will Microsoft keep the Lumia brand (which already has at least some brand recognition) or create a new brand for it’s own phones?
Regardless it’s going to be an interesting time for Microsoft, consumers, and developers. As a developer, once the dust settles, with Xbox One sharing some Windows 8 internals, and with increased traction of Portable Class Libraries (PCL), it could be an awesome time for app developers. The ability to write a shared core of code once in a PCL and just have separate views for Surface, Phone and Xbox One, along with (possibly) some exclusive API/hardware on Microsoft manufactured phones could prove to be really interesting.
You can read the Nokia press release for more details.