Microsoft Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

Jean-Marc is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

There are some things that are just not cool no matter who does them, including

1) liking your own social media status

2) using your grandmother as a character reference

3) reviewing your own product and posting it to your site

Guess which one Nokia (NYSE: NOK) did this week?

Matters of class and fairness aside, the producer of the Lumia 920 and 620 now wants to add a tablet to the mix. Here's what CEO Stephen Elop told Sydney press:

“We're studying very closely the market right now as Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has introduced the Surface tablet, so we are trying to learn from that and understand what the right way to participate would be and at what point in time.”

He went on to say:

We would consider any option [Android or Windows] it is important to note that the opportunity for companionship is something that any user is looking for. So when you think about the Lumia 920, running on Windows phone, having a Windows tablet or PC or Xbox is something that will give us the opportunity to have a pretty integrated experience

Companionship? Really? With all it's talk of working with Microsoft, Nokia, only one of three phone manufacturers making Windows phones in the U.S., is considering going another route--or in PC terms, seeking an “integrated experience.”

But its certainly nothing personal; perhaps Nokia has finally begun to see what Bernstein Research reported back in August, that despite years of reported effort from operators and manufacturers, people just don't want Windows phones...or apparently tablets.

As was the case for the Windows tech maker, last quarter's sales didn't make much of a good Christmas present. Sales of the Microsoft Surface were underwhelming to say the least, with the company unable to sell more than 750,000 of the tablets, according to CNET estimates.

The PC software giant is definitely in an uncomfortable position, with it's bread and butter, the PC market itself, slowly fading away before the likes of the iPad. Even if Nokia were secretly working on a 10-inch Windows RT, which they've supposedly done since December, Microsoft needs something else. Enter recently failing hardware company Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), the stock ticker of which will be pointless soon, as Microsoft will help it go private to the tune of $2 billion.

CEO Michael Dell and investment firm SilverLake will buy up most of the stock for a deal that will total about $24.4 billion. Stock prices for the company soared once investors caught just a whisper of the potential deal, sending share prices from $10.88 on Jan. 11 to the high of $13.60 Monday.

Expert consensus on the deal suggests that Microsoft doesn't really have much to gain from the deal except for some amount of control it would gain within Dell computers. The rough idea is that the Windows platform needs friends, and a solid partnership with Dell is a way to ensure active “companionship.” Techradar also suggests that Microsoft's loan would provide Dell the much needed security it needs in order to enter enterprise computing. This is neither here nor there.

The best of speculators can see Microsoft and Dell's partnership eventually producing some competition in the mobile market against the likes of Apple, but that seems pretty far fetched at this point, especially in the tablet market.

The deal's success will also heavily depend upon Dell's ability to execute a swift transition, effectively deal with its debt, invest in new mobile technologies, all while retaining loyal customers in the process. The duo definitely has their hands full.


jsaintlaurent has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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