On the surface it seems pretty straightforward. Microsoft is a software company with asiprations to make world class devices. Nokia is a hardware company that doesn’t control its own OS. Together, they make a winning combination that will stride triumphant into the connected devices market and grab 15% by 2018. Oh, and Microsoft gets a replacement CEO while they’re at it.

The trouble with this, however, is that while it sounds good on paper, everything rests on the execution — something both companies have struggled with over the last decade. To successfully pull this off requires a tide change in vision and strategy for both companies, simultaneously. Most importantly, it requires them to actually work together.

Microsoft has fundamentally misunderstood the market during this transition to the Post-PC era, and the poor performance of its offerings during this time show that. But to make the shift to the right mindset requires the entirety of the company to adopt a new way of working, and to embrace their new colleagues. This is not something that will come easy. We’ve heard tales of stack-ranking, of fiefdoms and petty squabbles for dominance. We have entire groups who are at risk of obsolescence with Nokia on board. What we will undoubtably see is a lot of political maneuvering to try and stay relevant.

With a new CEO at the helm, perhaps some of the issues can be avoided. If Stephen Elop is indeed announced as the new CEO of Microsoft, he can guide the company to a new vision. But he will certainly have a struggle ahead to change the culture.

Product. Platform. Machine Learning.

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