When chatter about Nokia loading up its phones with Windows Phone 7 emerged last year, everyone scoffed. By February, the rumour was reality. The man who first dished the dirt was super-connected mobile watcher Eldar Murtazin. And he’s the one who now says that Microsoft is in talks to buy the Finnish phone maker outright.
Of course, Nokia has denied it, with Espoo’s UK comms chief Mark Squires claiming that Eldar’s “rumours are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment.”
That’s disingenuous to say the least. This man called out the Nokia Windows Phone tie-up before anyone else and has named Nokia’s two new phones packing the Microsoft already. It’ll be a miracle if those phones aren’t dubbed the W7 and W8 as expected. Throw in Murtazin’s early access to Nokia’s top-end phones before anyone else, and it becomes hard to believe that he’s the one lying here.
But what would such a buyout mean in reality? In the smartphone space, it would give Microsoft the traction they so desperately crave with a Windows Phone built and made by them, using their software.
It’s the closed shop approach that has worked so well for Apple and one which would doubtless give them a hell of a lot of press and publicity. It would iron out any update kinks, with hardware made in-house at least, and make Microsoft a proper, all-round mobile brand.
In light of what are regarded as sluggish sales, this deal is surely a no brainer. There has been no new WP7 hardware since last year, with mobile makers seemingly not fancying jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon and hitching themselves to Google Android instead.
This hook-up would probably do for Windows Phones made by the likes of Samsung and LG, but it would at least bring some much-needed focus to the OS. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Windows Phone 7 is a seriously smart piece of software. With a permanent mobile making division, once known as Nokia, the Big M could swiftly climb the smartphone charts.
There are issues though: what about all those feature phones using Symbian S40? How about Nokia’s business in emerging markets? Microsoft seems interested only in the high-end. Is there a chance that it’ll buy part rather than all of Nokia? It seems unlikely.
One thing is for certain, though. Do not write this off as simply tittle-tattle. Murtazin has got great connections and whatever Nokia says, someone’s told him differently. The deal might not be imminent, but this story won’t go away, despite the best efforts of Espoo.