Longtime techies like me said, "Uh-oh." M$ sucks with cell phones. First, they couldn't make a decent phone OS if they copied Android. Win6.5 was a slow, buggy mess, and companies insisted on using the outdated 5 and 6 instead. They couldn't figure out how to make Project Pink a reality. And who could forget the epic disaster that started with buying up Damage and ended with the Sidekick data outage of 2009.
PC sales were dropping badly. M$ tried to use the netbook market to save sales, but by forcing the prices up, netbook sales are now falling. Meanwhile, the tablet PC revolution (iPad) and the mobile phone revolution (iPhone, Android) are pulling in major bucks. M$ wants in on it, and readied Mobile 7. However, it landed with a splat. Android is outselling the iPhone by 2 to 1, Blackberry by 3 to 1, and Mobile 7 by 22 to 1. The strong arm tactics that enabled M$ to take over the PC market don't work here. Developers refuse to design for Mobile 7 because the user base is so small. It could be M$' last gasp.
The other major OS for phones is Symbian. Symbian has a lot of love because of so much open source support. Nokia sells Symbian. Or it did. Elop just announced that Nokia is dumping Symbian for Mobile 7. The MeeGo project is also shitcanned. Elop has basically cut a deal that gives M$ all the benefits and Nokia all the risks. In other words, Nokia is, for all intents and purposes, owned by M$, just without cash changing hands, no government red tape, and, if Nokia goes down, M$ is still in the clear. Elop is denying he's a Trojan horse for M$. Unfortunately, this whole thing passes the Duck Test ("If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then chances are you dealing with a duck.").
Elop wrote a memo saying that Nokia's "platform is burning" because Symbian phones aren't selling as well as Android and the iPhone OS. So, to be clear, they are replacing a platform that doesn't sell well with one that sells even worse.
Elop and Balmer wrote an open letter spelling out the details. "Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy"; "Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone"; Nokia and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives"; "Bing will power Nokia's search services across Nokia devices and services"; "Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft's mapping services"; "Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones"; "Nokia's content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace." Now, tell me this isn't a buyout without calling it a buyout.
The first Nokia running Mobile 7 will street (supposedly) in the fourth quarter of 2011. At that time, the iPhone 5 will have been out for months, a shitload of Android 2.4 phones will be out there, and HP's WebOS phones will be out, the next generation Blackberrys will be out by then, too. Even when M$ takes shortcuts, they're still behind the pack. MeeGo is the only thing this will kill, since Nokia was the only supporter other than Intel, and Intel isn't in the mobile phone market (of course, since MeeGo is open source, it could potentially still continue. But as a viable phone OS, it's history).
I'm starting to look into getting a new mobile phone. I initially didn't want a Sony because the one I had was just too wonky, while my Nokia's have always been solid performers. I will never buy another Nokia phone again. And I know I'm not the only one swearing off of them....