Late last night Microsoft announced it will acquire Nokia, the flagging cellphone manufacturer that was once so ubiquitous. While the two companies have worked in close partnership in the last few years, they hope to revitalize the brand by folding it into the Microsoft corporation. Even more interesting, Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft exec who left to head up Nokia in 2011, will be making the move as well. Many insiders speculate this makes him the heir apparent to Steve Ballmer's position of CEO. As we reported last week, Ballmer intends to step down within the next twelve months.
Nokia began 150 years ago in Finland, producing a variety of products from rubber boots to car tires. By th 1980s it had evolved into the top seller of mobile phones in world. But, failing to keep up with innovations, it's now been wiped off the map by Apple and Samsung. Microsoft too hasn't exactly been a hit in the smartphone business, accounting for only 3.7% of the market. However, we don't discount the possibilities that might come from these historically mighty companies. Change happens fast in the world of smartphones. This time next year, Microsoft and Nokia may take a bite out of Apple. (NYTimes)