You only need one good reason to commit to an idea, not four hundred. But if you have four hundred reasons to say yes and one reason to say no, the answer is probably no. — Twyla Tharp
For those of you living under a technology rock (or those who, even more smartly, don’t care), it was announced today that Microsoft is to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business (see: smartphone) for a bit more than seven billion dollars. Nokia is the only player of note making Windows Phone devices so it may seem only natural that Microsoft would like to own the whole pie — soup to nuts - or some other strange food metaphor.
Me? Well, I just returned from vacation to an Internet flooded with discussion about this deal. I’m sitting here trying to make sense of it. The reason…
The smartphone war is over. It has been for a while. And, like a lot of wars, the two winners both claim victory and are likely both, through the view of each own’s prism, right. Anyone else getting into this fight now (or trying to start the same fight) will be ignored. Mainly because not even the victors are thinking about the next punches. They know it is over. They are both hard at work on the next fight.
At the core, in secret, they are busily working on “the next big thing”. They are already placing bets on trying to create the things we want before we know we even wanted them. One of these has a long track record of doing just that and betting right (Apple) and the other a long record of throwing money at just about any cool wall just because it is cool (Google) hoping that something will stick.
I can’t help but wonder how many completely new ideas seven billion dollars could have bought. How much innovation, disruption, and pure cool seven billion could have helped Microsoft bring the world. Would seven billion, applied to technology they already had on hand but insist on squandering on last year’s model, create a whole new market that the others would be forced to compete in? Instead of skating to where the puck was, when others are skating to where the puck is, and Apple is skating to where the puck will be, could seven billion buy a whole new game?
I don’t know the answers and, unfortunately, the world will never find out. What I do know is that there were seven billion reasons to say no to this deal and Microsoft will be left hanging by the single yes.