Microsoft’s Nokia buy out- just another damp squib?

Two slipping companies which were considered to be leaders in their own fields have now become one! Microsoft’s has recently acquired Nokia for a whopping $7.2 billion.


Remember the days when software just meant Microsoft and Mobile just Nokia. That was how these two brands monopolized their markets. It was an expected move as Nokia had already made a move from its Symbian OS to adopt Windows Mobile. While many of the industry experts are gung-ho about the deal, many are criticizing it. There are many apprehensions. Microsoft’s share prices too went on a down spiral the day the deal was inked. How would this association take off? Would it add any value to the industry or its just another damp squib as Microsoft  earlier too had made a move to get into the smartphone market through Surface Tablet which was a notable flop. Are there some solid reasons which could have prompted this deal? Yes.

Today Microsoft is at a rickety 4% growth rate and Nokia is left far behind by companies like Samsung . Its not just due to the features and user ‘friendliness’ of the Samsung devices but the large pool of Google’s Android based apps which are available for the users. Google has very smartly nurtured the Android developers community and today its a big driving force. Remember the days when Microsoft launched Windows Operating system and changed history for ever. The Apple’s Macintosh was left behind for Microsoft was much more developers friendly. Seems as if history is repeating itself.

The drivers which could catapult Microsoft to the top in the  smartphone industry are as follows…

Smartphone revolution in emerging geographies

New geographies like India, other South Asian countries, Africa etc. are still getting ready for the big smartphone revolution. 3G & 4G are just getting introduced to the market and the potential of these markets is huge. Most of the Asian countries still have decent Nokia presence. Products like Nokia Lumia are getting good customer response. Microsoft could leverage on the existing market share of Nokia to grow it further. 

Leveraging on the combined strength of Hardware & Software

The reason for the success of Apple’s products is because it controls & has ownership of both- its hardware and software. Now on Microsoft and Nokia would have the liberty develop better products for the customers and they don’t have to rely on outsiders.

Leveraging on Microsoft’s Enterprise Applications strength

There wont be a single enterprise in this world which would not be using any Microsoft product. Products like MS Office, Microsoft based LoB, MS Dynamics, Sharepoint, Windows based client & server applications, applications built on VB, .net and other software platforms, collaboration tools like Yammer…Microsoft has a deep seated presence in the IT ecosystem.

Today a big challenge with Enterprise Mobility is how to enable mobile access to enterprise applications. People today not only want to access emails, messages etc but also want to access their LoBs and other software on their smartphones. Here Microsoft could have a a major advantage for being an incumbent in all top customer accounts.

This could open new frontiers for mobile application integration, enterprise mobility and collaboration. Developers will again embrace the new platform which has best of hardware and software. Think of the value the users will get.

If Steve Balmer could make it happen then this deal would be considered one of the smartest in the history.

The key business drivers for Enterprise Mobility

One of the key focuses of CIOs today is to try and adopt Enterprise Mobility in their organizations at the earliest.

Big question is…Is mobility really going to change the way business is done. Will it radically improve the performance of the employees. Is it a fab or fad? There are still many doubts about the real value-add enterprise mobility would bring for enterprises.
Lets identify the key factors which are driving it today.

Consumerization of IT

We know, today it has become easy to choose & own technology.  Solutions like storage, LoB apps, analytics, collaboration etc, which were considered to be costly are available on the cloud today at a very low subscription fee or even free.  Employees often use such services to store & access content on their mobile devices often putting the enterprise at risk.  Does the Enterprise have any control  as to which and how these apps are used?

Consistent brand experience on mobile devices:

More than 78% of the US Facebook users access it on mobile.  Customers today want to have all the features they have on their laptops to be present in their tablets and  smartphones too. A major challenge before the enterprises is how to provide a seamless, consistent & continuous brand experience. Using Social, Location & Mobile, the customer could have more fulfilling experience  when he  browses and buys on his mobile device.

Making Enterprise Applications available on Mobile devices

Today employees want to do real work on their smartphones & mobile devices. User wants to access the his LoB applications &  core business systems like ERP, CRM etc. on his mobile. He also wants do necessary analytics, access dash boards, data visualizations, reports etc too. How to integrate mobility with Enterprise Applications is a daunting task before the enterprises. Most of the mobile apps ( for enterprise software) available today  are quite poor as they are just a watered down version of the original software. They are not optimized or tuned to access on mobiles.

BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device)

Employees today use multiple devices at the workplace. Tablets, Blackberry, Smartphones…all these are used to access corporate resources from anywhere. These devices have mobile platform which are diverse too like Android, Symbian, Blackberry, Microsoft Embedded, Windows phone etc. How could these devices be used as an integral ‘device fleet’ to get work done smoothly, is a real big question.

Enterprise mobility management helps BYOD programs become successful by providing features like device enrollment for employees to use corporate content & other resources ( based on his role & group) with his one or more devices. Using self service portal on the device employees could manage their profiles, passwords etc. Enterprise risk could also be mitigated with every device accepting  terms & conditions/ access policy.

Better security & privacy policy using Containerization

The corporate resources have to be secure and employees privacy should also be respected. The success of BYOD program depends much on how smartly containerization is done while deploying mobility.  Researches say that most of the employees save corporate data on personal device and personal data on company’s device. This is a real threat for the safety and security of both employees and the company.

Mobile Content Management (MCM)

Ensuring secure content collaboration on mobile is a business imperative. With BYOD and consumerization of IT there is whole new focus on how to make the content share process smarter and secure.

Enterprise File Share & Sync (EFSS) products are rapidly getting into the IT ecosystem of the enterprises. Such software enable latest version of the document be available across the enterprise and on different enrolled devices. Also the content is encrypted and secure both at rest and in transit.  Similarly employees too could share their content with others in a secure environment. Access of content has to be as per the policy of the enterprise, if found to be compromised or misused, access could be denied and or content could be wiped off.

Mobile Device Management ( MDM)

Think about the difficulties, IT department has to face while dealing with hundreds of devices of different types.

MDM could help in better management of devices through ‘common console’, where new devices could be added/ deleted and access rights of the employees could be modified.  Directory services through LDAP integration could create role based groups so that the device could accesses the right content. It could also provide various dashboards and log reports for better control & management of the device fleet.

Enterprise Mobility is significantly changing the business world by making the lives of the people easier and enhancing their productivity. Bygone are the days when work was limited to the workstations and there was no work outside the cubicle. Today work moves with the employees in their mobile devices. Enterprise mobility is making it possible in a big way.