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Nokia buy Palm? Not so fast…

Last week rumours circulated (again) that Nokia might acquire Palm.  Palm shares rallied, but seem to have settled back down this week. The “deal”, after all, is a Wall Street wet dream, and not much more. 

It’s true that Nokia’s stock price is suffering and that Nokia’s share is slipping in the smart phone market. The mobile market is in transition, and Nokia was ill prepared. Nokia is fundamentally a hardware company trying to become a software company in a market which has lurched sharply toward software as the core differentiator.  Wedded to Symbian while top competitors Apple and Google have bet on *NIX on the handset, Nokia knows it has to make some changes.  The advantages of a modern OS architecture on the handset simply can’t be overstated.

And, in fact, Nokia is making changes.  The N900 is a mobile Linux device, running Nokia’s home grown Maemo OS.  The N900 has debuted to mixed reviews but Nokia isn’t asleep at the wheel.

And that’s why the billions required to buy Palm aren’t going to get spent.

Who might make a good dance partner for Palm? How about:

  • Yahoo – Apple and Google have both demonstrated the value of an integrated user experience connecting web based media and storefront properties to the handset.  By all accounts, Palm’s WebOS is the best platform for creating mobile web experiences today.  What better marriage than Yahoo’s deep web experience and Palm’s sexy new mobile platform?
  • RIM – BlackBerry OS is long in the tooth, and everyone knows it. The current king of the smartphone hill has a lot to lose, and the current crop of new competitors have better platforms to build their future businesses upon.  Meld RIM’s deep understanding of the enterprise to Palm’s mobile web platform, and market it through RIM’s well entrenched carrier relationships and you’d have a winner.
  • In fact, RIM acquiring Palm might be so threatening to Microsoft that they’d conceivably enter the race just to make sure that RIM didn’t win the big prize.  The shift to web technologies on the handset and within the enterprise would threaten Microsoft’s core franchise.  However, given how poorly Microsoft has executed on mobile, a successful bid from Redmond would likely be the kiss of death for Palm. 

My bet’s on RIM, even though a Yahoo / Palm marriage has the potential to create one of the most exciting and dynamic companies in the mobile world today.  Palm needs a dance partner, but it’s not clear that Yahoo’s leadership has the stones to get the job done. The good news for Palm’s Rubenstein is that there are plenty of potential suitors in the market, if indeed the company is for sale.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Stuart Henshall November 18, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Good thoughts! With Maemo being Nokia's future and if WebOS was Blackberry's I wonder how the brands fare on communications during the transition. Explain it to me… why should I buy an N97? or Bold when there is a n900 or pixi driving the future of the firm? It really opens up the consideration set.

  • alex December 16, 2009, 11:36 pm

    The value of WebOS should be more in the application and UI frameworks than the core OS.

    Nokia's future is in Maemo OS + Qt framework for cross platform application development across Nokia's mobile platforms and Windows/Mac/Linux.
    Qt is far more in favour with developers than native Symbian, so we can expect a lot more nice looking apps also for future Symbian phones; assuming that Nokia can fix apps distribution (Ovi Store).

  • Larita Cuddihee July 18, 2010, 3:31 pm

    I must say that my selection to buy a Palm Pixi with Sprint service was both a rational and emotional one. I suggest, the Palm Pixi is lovely and functional. And coupled with all the program good quality of Sprint, it appears almost nothing brief of the revolution from the generating. I believe that Palm and Sprint have (virtually) hit it off famously. I did a good deal of analysis before purchasing the Pixi but overlooked at very least one factor. The Pixi will not, yet, allow me synchronize my e-mails concerning it and Outlook. As far as I am concerned, that is a drawback I am facing unless Palm comes up having a solution easily. With my earlier SmartPhone running a Windows OS, it was a snap to synchronize e-mails as well as other information with one's Pc. But Pixi's inability to perform so is doing existence a little tough for me simply because I've to Bcc each and every e-mail, I send out, to my e-mail address after which manually transfer it towards the 'sent' folder in Outlook. I hope Palm, or at very least a third-party, will arrive up using a answer quite soon that will quickly enable me synchronize all my e-mails, and ideally all important information, among the Pixi and my office Personal computer.

  • Aurelio Bram July 19, 2010, 2:37 pm

    I am a brand new Nokia n900 user from india, i require some help from ur all, how can i use skype in my mobile phone exactly where it truly is not showing the pre set up application. though i m not able to use aMSN in my cell phone whn actually i m installing it, it saying unable to install as some installer files are missing please inform how can i use yahoo voice and movie calls and msn voice and movie calls and most crucial skype.

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