Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) are taking center stage today to announce their union. Behind the scenes, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) may end up being a couple of inadvertent beneficiaries.
The Gootorola deal is notable since it puts Google directly into the hardware game. There's already been some speculation about a possible Microkia combo, sending Nokia shares upwards of around 14% today.
If Microsoft chooses to venture directly into hardware (and that's a pretty big if), Nokia would be the top candidate. With an ex-Microsoft exec at the helm, Nokia has been pushing Windows Phone pretty aggressively while renouncing the Symbian platform.
With all the patent talk of late, don’t forget that Nokia has its own portfolio of patents, some of which even scored against Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . Not that Apple should be too concerned about Nokia’s market share, but a victory is still a victory. A Nokia purchase would also go hand in hand with its losses, which may put a damper on the prospects of an all-out acquisition.
Google will suddenly become a direct competitor with other popular smartphone makers like Samsung and HTC, which have both significantly contributed to Android’s rise. While both those companies, along with other leading Android phone makers, have voiced support for the deal, they must prepare for the possibility that Motorola will get favorable treatment from its new parent. For example, this could manifest through earlier access to software updates, which would make Android decidedly less open -- one of its key benefits to OEMs.
Windows Phone just became a lot more relevant. It's highly doubtful that any of the Android OEMs will jump ship anytime soon, but they need to weigh their options if worse comes to worst. It broaches the idea that if Android becomes patently less competitive and open, then Windows Phone may swiftly become a viable alternative.
What do you think? Can Windows Phone gain traction in a market dominated by Android and iOS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.