It was somewhat a déjà vu experience for me reading about Microsoft buying Nokia’s mobile business . Only a few years back, HP bought Palm , and the memories of how that deal went are still painful (a good read if you want to relive the pain: Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS ).
The difference is then it was a hardware company which bought a mobile OS company, and now it is a software company which wants to buy a handset manufacturer. It spells the death of the Nokia handset name eventually, but will it help Microsoft in the mobile arena?
Like Palm, Windows mobile lagged badly with the coming of the iPhone and Android devices. Today, I can count on less than the fingers of one hand the number of colleagues with Windows phones. I must say the “metro” interface is nice but the problem why Windows phone is lagging is the lack of software. For medical users that is crucial when it comes to making the choice. I can’t recommend Windows phone for medical users nor would I choose one if key medical software companies like Epocrates and Medscape are not supporting it natively (yet).
Will the acquisition change things? It’s a chicken and egg scenario. Software companies won’t write apps until the platform is big enough. People won’t buy phones until there are enough key apps. That’s where Microsoft needs to work on the platform – secure enough key apps and then perhaps it can succeed. Otherwise I’m afraid it may become another Palm all over again.