CommonSense Blog

Microsoft’s and Nokia:What does it mean for the rest of us

By Stephan_Merkens | Sep 03, 2013

It’s no secret that over the last few years, the relationship between Microsoft and Nokia has been getting hotter and heavier. It all started about 2 years ago when Nokia announced that it would be launching its new Lumia devices equipped with Microsoft’s newest METRO OS. Many felt that the move would pair two of the once great platform leaders and position them for success against growing Android and iOS dominance. The original device received a lukewarm reception but showed potential. The devices smooth lines reestablished Nokia as a strong industrial design alternative while the METRO UI showed that Microsoft finally figured out mobile. With the purchase of Nokia, Microsoft now has a hardware platform to take its OS to the masses and level the playing field with Android and Apple.

What this means for us:

More options:
Microsoft will undoubtedly release a number of new handsets and try to get them into the market with all carriers. This would likely translate into higher subsidies for new devices and they try to grab market share. Implications for Marketers and Brands: Start looking for Windows to take a stronger market share and adjust platform development accordingly.

 More Apps:
The Zune marketplace will finally have enough action to become a viable app store. While the marketplace does have a number of solid apps, they fail when it comes to the more common ones that you’d expect (surprisingly, think Instagram). This expansion will likely mean more apps will show up in the marketplace as new deals are struck. Implications for Marketers and Brands: Start looking at distribution on the Zune store as well as paid media options for Zune specific apps.

A change in the mobile experience:
The METRO UI is notoriously flat and devoid of a lot of the shadows and textures and works within a Grid system ( notice anything interesting apple). While iOS 7 is moving in that direction, METRO also brings more information to the forefront with active tiles. Implications for Marketers, brands and designers: as the market changes, the design of apps and interfaces will need to adjust to meet the need. Also with live tiles, apps will need to be created with that “always on” approach in mind.

 Mobile payments power:
With Microsoft stepping into the fray with its own device, their control over how those devices are created will expand. Integrating a payment system into the devices will be less of a conversation to be had with an OEM and now sit firmly in the hands of the OS developer.Implications for Marketers: We will finally be able to start thinking through mobile payment solutions as something at is within reach.

Multichannel integration:
Microsoft Mobile and Xbox were made for each other. Now that there is a robust platform, Windows METRO users will undoubtedly link to their other home devices (xBox one), and we can expect Microsoft to expand on this with other home devices that can integrate to the phone.Implications for Brands: Start thinking seriously about home integration and second screen functionality.

The end of Blackberry
If the writing on the wall wasn’t clear enough, It should be now. The last place player at least had its own handset. something that is much less of an issue now. Also, Exchange has a very high level of adoption, ands much lower price point for integration over Blackberrys proprietary email delivery methods.Implications for users: throw away your blackberry – if you haven’t already.

All in all, this purchase, looks to push an industry forward that may have become a little too complacent. Speaking personally, Ive always seen the METRO UI as being fairly innovative and its good to see if finally having a dedicated and suitably stylish shell.Please share your opinions. I’d love to continue the conversation as the deal goes through.