THE RUMOUR MILL has come up with a Hell on Earth conspiracy theory claiming that Microsoft is about to buy RIM or Nokia.
The rumour is based on an implausible article at Reuters, which claims that although Windows 7 Phone OS is superior to any other mobile OS out there the Vole hasn't got enough leverage in the market to make it a success.
Of course there is nothing to the rumour. The article starts with the sentence "Apple Inc has raised the smartphone bar with its distinctive Iphone," so you know that it is going to be a yarn fueled by Jobs' Mob propaganda.
It is closely followed by Morningstar analyst Toan Tran saying that to really compete in this business, Microsoft needs to get into the hardware business, where it can control the entire user experience. "Apple has shown that's the model that works," Tran said. "In a consumer device, people just want something that works, they don't want something as complicated as a PC."
In other words, Apple did it perfectly and Microsoft needs to copy its business model to be successful. The basis behind the rumour is nothing more than a well placed piece of Apple spin that again touts its superiority over Microsoft. The above quote even scrapes to use Apple's "It just works" marketing logo. To which the urge should be to reply, "only just."
Although Wall Street also thought that it is a good idea for the Vole to buy RIM or Nokia, it really would be crazy. Microsoft spending a fortune on a company and then forcing the disruption of making it adapt and then install Windows software on its new subsidiary's devices would be a fairly pointless exercise.
True, Microsoft has been losing ground in the mobile market mostly because its software has fallen behind some of the more interesting alternatives from Google, Symbian and Apple.
However early reviews say Windows 7 Phone is the dogs and wipes the floor with most of what is out there. Microsoft still has substantial control of the lucrative business market where its mobile software integrates nicely with its server products.
Building on this, and armed with Windows 7 Phone, the Vole could make a comeback. True it is late, but it might still pull it off. Certainly some manufacturers are at least stopping the slide away from Windows Phone in the wake of the news.
By keeping flexible, the Vole can include lots of different manufacturers in lucrative business packages. However if it were to start making its own hardware it would be in competition with them.
Are there any advantages to owning your own mobile phone handset company and locking customers into your software? Well only if you are charismatic evangelical marketing machine that is playing the consumer market.
Apple's own model is restricted to consumers and is designed to lock them in both to Apple's software applications and to Apple's mobile network carrier of choice. Microsoft could do something like that with the Zune phone and owning the manufacturer would not make the slightest difference.
Despite the US tech press fantasy that Apple is king of the smartphones, for the Vole, the reality is that the market is controlled by Symbian with Google's Android making inroads. If it is going to win the mobile market it has to come up with ideas that will take down these rivals rather than worry about the smaller and more fickle consumer market.
To do this, Microsoft does not need to own a handset maker, it needs deals with lots of them. µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday
Slack attack whacked
Power glitch is thought to be hardware-related