I don’t fancy the idea of dwelling on the same topic for two weeks in a row, but I have reasonable grounds this week. Thanks to a space crunch, last week, I could not make a prediction, but I am using this week to do so. This is my belief that we are heading for a grand convergence in smartphones and slate computers (iPad clones, actually), between Nokia and Microsoft.
In fact, last August, the two companies had announced an alliance bringing Microsoft Office Mobile and Microsoft business communications, collaboration and device management software to Nokia’s Symbian devices.
Things got hotter last week. Nokia’s shareholders showed they were restless about the Finnish giant’s ability to throw up a killer product while Apple’s iPhone stunned the world and moved to further strength with the launch of the iPad, a connected slate computer-like device that will make e-books, e-zines and online videos easier to consume.
Last week, they announced a plan under which they will make new software to counter BlackBerry devices and phones made by Research In Motion. Again last week, Nokia widened an intellectual property dispute it is having with Apple mainly over iPhones to include the iPad.
Suddenly, Nokia and Microsoft are behaving with that old feeling: an enemy’s enemy is my friend. I also recall that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was eased out of Apple’s board as Google started going ahead with its Android platform for mobile phones.
Now, Nokia’s Symbian platform is a has-been, and the company needs a strong fix. What better ally then than Microsoft? This is because Microsoft’s Windows is the world’s most popular desktop platform and also has formidable network and mobile versions. Microsoft also has a strong history in dealing with developers offer a plethora of software applications.
Nokia, on the other hand, is arguably the world’s most experienced player in handset manufacture, design and also in its understanding of the handset market.
The two badly need each other. Microsoft’s Office suite is expected on Nokia machines later this year, but I expect a more fundamental shift ahead.
Remember Wintel, the combination between Intel microchips and Windows that was made the standard desktop in the 1980s and 1990s? I expect Nokia and Microsoft to yield a “Microkia” combo (Nosoft looks pretty negative a term to me). Microkia, anyone?