Mobile Phones at the Heart of the Computing World
Microsoft’s recent purchase of Nokia’s phone business drives home how central mobile devices have become to the future of computing, the Internet, and consumer electronics in general.
Microsoft no doubt hoped that it could create a significant presence in the mobile space without getting into the device business, but it didn’t work out that way. With time slipping by and little sign of improvement in Microsoft’s very weak position in mobile, it made sense for the company to buy the biggest maker of Windows-based mobile phones and try to salvage the platform.
That such a deal occurred is a testament to how successful Apple and Google have been at domainating the mobile space. With Blackberry fading into insignificance, and Google having absorbed Motorola’s phone business, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have cemented their positions as the three contenders in the ‘platform of the future’ battle — one in which Microsoft finds itself in the unfamiliar position of the third-place underdog.
One further bit of evidence that mobile is becoming all-important: for the past five quarters in a row, PC sales have declined, following decades of non-stop growth.
In many cases, PCs are being replaced by tablets. From a platform perspective, tablets are big phones, not touch-screen PCs, making a strong position in the mobile space that much more critical. Gartner analyst Loren Loverde commented, ‘…it’s going to be one tablet per person and one PC per family.’