Today Microsoft has announced, so after nearly two years, Satya Nadella’s “new Microsoft” has finally managed to cure one of the biggest headaches caused by the old company headed by Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft and Nokia have thus decided to part ways, and the Redmond-based software giant is now planning to go all-in on smartphones and focus exclusively on its Windows 10 Mobile efforts with a project that’s believed to be the only chance of the platform: the Surface Phone.
Although that does sound a little bit unusual, given the fact that Nokia has been the main Windows phone manufacturer for so long, and the Finnish company actually helped Microsoft’s mobile efforts take off, Redmond is now working on a different future for its platform, and Nokia is not part of it.
In a press release this morning, whose release date coincided with Microsoft’s announcement of Nokia’s sales to Foxconn, the Finnish firm revealed that the feature phone business continues to be a key part of its strategy, alongside Android phones and tablets. Seeing Nokia going the Android way is not a surprise since the company itself confirmed this new direction, so for Windows phone fans it’s more important to see Microsoft’s strategy succeed.
The Nokia controversy
Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia’s Devices and Services business wasn’t an easy decision for the company, and people close to the matter revealed that internal talks caused quite a tension between the leaders of the company at that point.
Steve Ballmer, who was the CEO of the company at the time of reaching the agreement, pressured for taking over Nokia’s unit while founder Bill Gates is believed to have opposed the deal, despite the fact Ballmer was one of his best friends.
Ballmer, however, wanted to purchase Nokia by any means and even threatened with his resignation should the deal not have gone through. Bill Gates eventually changed his mind and gave his go-ahead for the takeover, but after Ballmer’s departure from the company, he tasked Satya Nadella with reducing the damages that this purchase could have caused.
This sale is part of this strategy, and there’s no doubt that Bill Gates himself advised Satya Nadella before making this decision, especially because Microsoft is still looking for a way to become more relevant in mobile. And the solution could land next year.
Surface Phone to the rescue
Microsoft is believed to no longer plan new Lumia devices, but in order to keep the Windows 10 Mobile effort going, the company is working with partners to support them in their plans to launch devices running this OS.
But at the same time, Microsoft itself is also working on a premium device that could be called Surface Phone and might launch in spring 2017 as a pioneer of the Windows 10 Mobile lineup.
Designed and built by the same team that made the Surface tablet, and headed by Panos Panay, the Surface Pone could arrive in three different models with different specs to better appeal to a wider customer market.
Little is known at this point, but there’s no doubt that the Surface Phone would feature the best of the best when it comes to hardware, and this is one of the reasons it’s expected to be quite pricey.
Time will tell if Microsoft’s new strategy will work, but it goes without saying that the company is ready to start a new chapter now that Nokia is no more. The Surface Phone, however, could be the very last attempt that it can afford to become relevant in mobile.