Make no mistake about Nokia's global power. They are still the dominant handset maker globally. But Nokia somehow missed the shift to the handheld computers we call smartphones and tablets.
Make no mistake about Microsoft's tenacity. They will drop a cool billion to enter a market. But they have tried and tried and tried again to build an operating system that can work on the handheld computes we call smartphones and tablets.
Well, Windows Phone 7 (now where did the "7" come from?) is a good mobile OS, at least on smartphones. No idea whether it will work on tablets. (We know Windows 7 itself won't.)
And Nokia's smartphone platforms like the E7 are a decent piece of hardware.
Now that these two megaliths are partnering up, Microsoft's mobile OS has a chance for relevance. I and my colleagues have predicted and urged you, our enterprise customers, to focus on three mobile platforms: Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and RIM's QNX. Well, it's time to take a flier on Microsoft as well.
It's way too early to tell if this partnership will be successful or if anybody, particularly your US and European employees, will care about Nokia smartphones or tablets running Windows Phone 7. But if they nail the product experience. If they sign up the carriers. If they quickly roll out a good, competitively-priced tablet running the same Windows Phone OS. If they port Word and PowerPoint and OneNote and Excel and SharePoint Workspace to that tablet and phones. If they attract ISVs. If they attract independent developers. If they build a decent app store. If they sign up the mobile device management vendors. If they execute brilliantly. Then they could be relevant.
Yep, it's a lot of ifs. But there wasn't even a door to success visible for these two companies until now. And now there is a door and it's open. So nice decision, Mr. Elop and Mr. Ballmer. Now do the right thing for information workers and make these products great in the office, in the hand, and in the home. And make no mistake. You're building a single product experience together. Hardware+Software+Applications+Distribution+Delivery+Content+++++.
Go get it.
Added 2:50 ET on 11 Feb 11
See John McCarthy's "this dog don't hunt" post.