Now. In the above two paragraphs replace the words "Microsoft" and "Nokia." Still works. Both had huge wind in their sails (sales?) to steer into the mobile category for keeps, neigh to define and deliver the mobile category to a hungry world and wireless provider landscape ... on their, the platform-providers', terms!
So now here we have two respective global giants who had a lead, one may even say a monopoly or monopoly-adjacency, in mobile and platforms and tools for mobile. And now it is together and somehow federated -- rather than separately or in traditional OEM partnership -- that they will rear up and gallop toward the front of the mobile device pack -- the iOS, Android, RIM and HP-Palm pack.
How exactly is their respective inability, Microsoft and Nokia, to execute separately amid huge market position advantages enhanced now by trying to execute in cahoots ... loosely, based mostly on a common set of foes? I'll point you to the history of such business alliances, often based on fear, and its not any better than the history of big technology mergers and acquisitions. It stinks. It stinks for end-users, investors, partners and employees.
But why not reward the leadership of these laggards with some more perks and bonuses? Works in banking.
A developer paradise
And talk about an ace in the hole. Not long ago, hordes of developers and ISVs -- an entire global ecosystem -- were begging Microsoft to show them the mobile way, how to use their Visual Studio skills to skin the new cat of mobile apps. They were sheep waiting to be lead (and not to slaughter). The shepherd, it turned out, was out to lunch. Wily Coyote, super genius.
And execution is not the only big reason these companies have found themselves scrambling as the world around them shifts mightily away. Each Microsoft and Nokia clearly had the innovators dilemma issues in droves. But these were no secret. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).
Microsoft had the fat PC business to protect, which as usual divided the company on how to proceed on any other course, Titantic-like. Nokia had the mobile voice business and mobile telecom provider channel to protect. So many masters, so many varieties of handsets and localizations to cough up. Motorola had a tough time with that one too. Yes, it was quite a distraction.
But again, how do these pressures to remain inert inside of older models change by the two giants teaming up? Unless they spin off the right corporate bits and re-assemble them together under a shared brand, and go after the market anew, the financial pressures not to change fast remain steadfast. (See reason one above on execution again ... endless loop).
What's more there's no time to pull off such a corporate shell game. The developers are leaving (or left), the app store model is solidifying elsewhere, the carriers are being pulled by the end-users expectations (and soon enterprises). And so this Microsoft-Nokia mashup is an eighth-inning change in the line-up and there's no time to go back to Spring training and create a new team.
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