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The Case That Apple Should Buy Nokia 286

Posted by timothy
from the finland-finland-finland dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Nokia has seen better days. The Finnish phone maker continues to struggle to gain traction in a marketplace dominated by Apple and Android, and its new flagship device, the Windows-powered Lumia 920, failed to impress investors when it was announced last month, subsequently causing the company's stock to dive. Now Tristan Louis argues that there are four good reasons Apple should dig into its deep pockets and buy Nokia. First Nokia has really powerful mapping technology. Apple Maps isn't very good, and Apple has been feeling the heat from a critical tech press but Nokia has been doing maps 'for a long time now, and they a have access to even more data than Google.' Next, Nokia has a treasure chest of patents and as Apple's recent smackdown of Samsung proves, the future of the mobile space 'will be dictated by the availability and ownership of patents.' Nokia's exhaustive portfolio of patents might be worth as much as $6 billion to $10 billion, a drop in the bucket from Apple's $100 billion war chest. Nokia could also help with TV. If Apple truly wants to dominate the TV arena, it'll have to beam shows and movies to iPhones or iPads in real time, and that's a field Nokia has some expertise in. Finally Microsoft has a lot riding on the release of Windows Phone 8, and Nokia is its primary launch partner. Buying Nokia would 'knock Microsoft on its heels,' says Forbes' Upbin."
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The Case That Apple Should Buy Nokia

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  • Pretty big drop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:32AM (#41595621)
    I know I am being picayune, but 10% is not a drop in the bucket. Not even in the colloquial sense. Unless it is a teeny tiny bucket that only holds 10 drops.
  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:32AM (#41595623)
    Yep, the author doesn't investigate what agreements are in place between Nokia and MS. That could make an Apple purchase a poor choice (or not). This looks like some dude saw last weeks article about Nokias mapping efforts and decided he thinks Apple should buy them. Unfortunately he's got an audience.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:33AM (#41595627)

    Not in the US, and especially not in the EU.

    Too many anti-trust issues.

  • Little problem... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Andy Prough (2730467) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:34AM (#41595637)
    buying your 4th (or 5th) largest competitor so that your 3rd largest competitor can't survive in the market could be called "anti-trust". Something MSFT knows all about...
  • by ip_freely_2000 (577249) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:34AM (#41595643)
    Microsoft is *already* on it's heels. Apple is worth far more than Microsoft and appears to have a better strategy going forward. Taking any opportunity to knock Microsoft down makes no business sense and distracts from their mission.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:38AM (#41595693) Journal
    This isn't news, this is Bruce Upbin, Forbes Staff "reporting" on some random article by another journalist named Tristan Louis who lists his credentials as:

    Tristan Louis is an Internet veteran, having worked in the Internet industry since 1993. Throughout the years, Mr. Louis has been known as the founder of Internet.com, a co-founder of Earthweb's developer.com, the interim CTO for Boo.com, and has held many other roles at start-ups during the first dotcom boom.

    And this guy is commenting on why Apple should buy Nokia? Really? That's "news" to us? It's basically a list of half baked points. I know how this works, I've seen it in my uncle. He used to play sports in high school and when we watch a Vikings game he is just exasperated at how terrible the coaches are. Why, if he was in that game, he'd know exactly what plays to call and he could probably even be the quarterback and throw this football clear over them mountains.

    The piece fails to explain why Apple shouldn't merely license Nokia's map services instead of kicking $10 billion out for it (oh, by the way, 10% of your total liquid assets is not a "drop in the bucket"). It fails to analyze many of the other assets of Nokia (oh, come on, like Apple would continue making Nokia's candy bar phones) and just assumes Apple would like to pay for all that stuff. It doesn't consider all the EU approvals that Apple would need and he ends this list with Apple doing "a double-reverse with a flip" which sounds a lot like the plays my uncle would call in a professional football game.

    In short, build your own $100 billion dollar empire and then you can throw it away yourself. Until then, I don't think this shallow "analysis" of two phone makers was ever worth my time. It could at least be comprehensive and delve into the financials of the deal and possible repercussions (like yet another little guy dying and the market becoming more inbred with less options).

  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david.emery (127135) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:40AM (#41595727)

    Mod parent up insightful. This is a real concern and has both benefits and risks. Look at how Google is doing with Motorola, they've bought both the patents and the associated lawsuits.

  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:43AM (#41595771)

    If anyone is going to buy Nokia, it makes sense for Microsoft to do so. It could become Microsoft's chief mobile hardware partner, and perhaps could offer something in the Xbox arena. The result would be a partnership similar to Google and Motorola.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:49AM (#41595823)

    Glass will shatter, but it is harder than plastic. All materials come with a tradeoff.

    I think the material debate is kind of absurd anyway, since hardly anyone goes caseless. At this point, they really should just sell sturdy, ugly, phone "guts" and let any company sell cases for it.

  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:51AM (#41595841) Homepage Journal
    Totally. It's only a matter of time before the remnants of Nokia become a Microsoft Department, with the transfer of patents that was the only thing MS wanted from the start. Would make a lot of sense for Apple to grab them, but there's just no way it'll happen with Elop prepping, and if Apple did eventually buy it, it'd be a husk of a company with the patents/IP already long gone. Now, a partnership/agreement to cross license for 3 years perhaps, finally wipe out Android through sustained heavy lawsuit fire? That'd make sense. But Apple has learned too well, and after finishing off Android, will be waiting for the knife in the back from Microsoft. No, it can't work, it's too messed up, and apart from the IP, there's not a lot worth buying.
  • by Alkonaut (604183) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:09AM (#41596013)
    I'd rather have microsofts revenue than apples, even if apples is larger. Reason? Apples revenue comes from consumer electronics. That can change overnight if Apple just blows it once with a new release. Microsoft has a huge corporate revenue stream as well as a lot more lock-in from software. To put it another way: microsoft can release vista fiv times over without losing much revenue to e.g. Mac OS. If the iPhone6 is crap and samsung's offering is brilliant then Apple is in trouble. Apple have to deliver continuously, MS not so much.
  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by korgitser (1809018) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:12AM (#41596045)

    They already have made Nokia their bitch, and that only cost them one incompetent manager.
    Remember Elop, the Troyan Horse running Nokia? He is handling all the good pieces to Microsoft on a silver plate for free, while scrapping everything not relevant to the Brave New Windows Smartphone Future(TM). Like Nokia's immensely profitable presence in the third world - Nokias featurephones were doing the smartphone revolution everywhere but the West. They had a headstart and were pretty much guaranteed to sell billions, until Elop came around and said 'does not run Windows, scrap it'.
    So, they already have what they want, and are already scuttling the rest, so why would they want to waste more money on it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:17AM (#41596113)

    Being harder isn't always the best thing for a material.
    Materials that allow for a certain amount of flex can absorb impacts better than something that is just hard and inflexible.

    As for phone cases, most people i know either have NO case [I've only had one case myself and that was for carrying convenience when I had to have two phones for a few months] or have thin 'cover' style cases that only emphasize protecting the phone from other things in their pockets.

  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samkass (174571) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:31AM (#41596311) Homepage Journal

    If anyone is going to buy Nokia, it makes sense for Microsoft to do so. It could become Microsoft's chief mobile hardware partner, and perhaps could offer something in the Xbox arena. The result would be a partnership similar to Google and Motorola.

    Yeah, but Nokia's a publicly traded company. They're valued at about $10B... pocket change for Apple. And they have the best mapping data in the world... Apple has arguably lost more than $10B in valuation for not having such data.

    Apple could buy Nokia, keep the mapping and patents, divest the mobile manufacturing to Microsoft and come out way ahead.

  • Re:Fix Maps, only? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swb (14022) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:56AM (#41596569)

    How much innovation do you want on a per-release basis? I think they did a lot -- newer, larger screen, thinner design, completely new interface port (with zero adapters available until some started shipping YESTERDAY), completely new mapping system.

    That's a lot of "innovation" even if it doesn't necessarily translate into new, glitzy things you want or substantial, obvious changes. An MMC slot would have been nice, but Apple really doesn't/hasn't supported external storage as a matter of policy/design philosophy. It's purposeful, not because they don't know how.

    And they have to balance substantial changes against consumer desire -- if the 4/4S was very popular, it's a reach to assume that Apple could sell a radically different physical device or one with some other radical change.

    IMHO, smartphones generally are kind of running out of obvious, low-hanging fruit without some substantial leaps technology and functionality wise. The thing I'm waiting for is a wireless (NOT 802.11) display protocol that enables touch functionality on a larger, external display.

  • by tgd (2822) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @11:15AM (#41596811)

    Actually HTC is making the "signature" WP8 devices, not Nokia.

    You should know better than to bring facts to a Slashdot Microsoft-bashing!

  • Re:NOOOOOO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tom17 (659054) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @12:27PM (#41597633) Homepage

    One phone & one tablet?

    iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini (Soon), iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone5

    I count that as 5, soon to be 6.

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:34PM (#41598395)

    You have got to be kidding. I was in a meeting yesterday and 6 of us had iPhones on the table, only 1 had a case on it. Most tech people I know don't use cases because they know how to handle their phones and not drop them.

    Wait, what? This is pure crazy.

    Having tech-related knowledge doesn't make you immune to dropping things.

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