Microsoft buys Nokia – the smartphone “OS race” heats up…

Less than two weeks after announcing that current CEO Steve Ballmer will be retiring within the next 12 months, Microsoft makes the front-page, again, with the acquisition of Nokia’s Devices & Services business and the licensing of Nokia’s Patents & Mapping Services. ( take a look at Nokia’s press release here )

To learn more about this move, including a detailed description of the strategic rationale behind it as well as an in depth discussion of the next steps take a look at the official presentation by clicking on the image below:

Microsoft-Nokia

Interestingly enough, although to a large extend expected, the current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will be completing his round-trip to Microsoft as the EVP of Devices along with several key people from his team.

Keep in mind that Elop joined Nokia in September 2010, coming from Microsoft, in a move that several people viewed as a prelude to today’s conclusion… Elop’s name has surfaced as a favorite in the race of succession for the new Microsoft CEO!!! ( take a look at a recent Bloomberg article )

It seems that the heat is on between the favorites Apple & Google and the “underdog” Microsoft for the future of global smartphone OS domination. ( Blackberry recently conceded to defeat and effectively pulled out of this “OS race” ).

Let’s take a look at the most recent global view of mobile OSs & manufacturers as reported by Gartner (August 2013):

GartnerGlobalSmartphoneManufacturers GartnerGlobalSmartphoneOS

Combine this  with the findings of a recent report from Nielsen on “Who’s winning the US smartphone market”:

NielsenUSSmartphoneManufacturer NielsenUSSmartphoneOS

And the fact that all of the major players ( Apple, Google, Microsoft ) have both an OS and a device arm ( Motorolla for Google, Nokia for Microsoft) in conjunction with Samsung’s leading position, vendor wise, create an intriguing playing field for the next strategic moves.

The new frontier is definitely emerging markets and we’re all waiting to see how the drama unfolds…

What are your thoughts on the subject? Is this race still open? Can Microsoft succeed in its “underdog” role?

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