Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s device business symbolizes the end of the old mobile era, writes Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Thomas Husson in a new blog post regarding the merge. “Remember the days when Nokia was by far the leading handset manufacturer with 40% market share in several European countries? When hardware was everything? These days are gone, and now most of the mobile innovation is coming from outside Europe: think US (e.g., Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) but also increasingly Asia and emerging countries. It is time for Europe to wake up.”

Telecom Principal Analyst Charles Golvin goes on to claim that the steadily diminishing investments by other Windows Phone licensees have left Microsoft with essentially a single bearer of the standard — Nokia — and it now appears poised to adopt a vertically integrated strategy more akin to Apple’s. So what will be Redmond’s challenge? Golvin believes it will be figuring out how to unite the myriad services and brands (Windows, Nokia, Live, Surface, Xbox, Bing, etc.) into a cohesive customer experience that will command and cement customer loyalty. “That’s a tall order and one that should weigh strongly on the board’s choice of a new CEO.”

In a separate blog post examining how this acquisition changes Microsoft’s position in the mobile mind shift, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Ted Schadler writes: “This acquisition is a clear stepping stone in Microsoft’s transition from a software company to a software-led multiproduct company. Microsoft has now proven that it is willing and able to make the tough decisions to make a vertically integrated product a cornerstone of its business model.” Schadler also explores what the acquisition means for CIOs, noting that this acquisition should bring them comfort. “Microsoft is doubling down on mobility, and that can only be a good thing. CIOs can have more confidence that Windows 8 tablet trials will be joined by a renewed Microsoft commitment to devices+services across tablets and phones.”

To learn more about Forrester’s take on this acquisition, visit the Marketing Leadership and CIO blogs. To learn more about the mobile mind shift, visit