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How to make Microsoft great again, one Nokia phone at a time

Mark Hachman | Jan. 24, 2014
Five lessons Microsoft could digest from the business it's about to swallow.

Under that scenario, a rumored Surface Windows Phone becomes much more viable. Replace the candy-colored plastic with brushed aluminum, and mute the crazy-quilt UI into more sedate tones. Dial back the refresh rate of the Live Tiles, and use the upcoming Windows Phone notifications to supplement them. Finally, consider creating a default tile layout with a standardized icon size, and offer to arrange the tiles automatically in that format. Finally, offer a similar theme for the Surface's Start menu. (Heck, Microsoft already offers two UIs within Windows 8; what's another?)

Done right, Microsoft could carve Lumia and Surface into two distinct brands, each with its own identity yet sharing a common hardware, software, and services platform. Bingo.

Ideally, Microsoft would discover and promote some visionary genius within Nokia, who would guide Windows Phone back to prominence. Instead, that looks to be the role of Stephen Elop, who has already unsettled Microsoft faithful with reported plans to sell the Xbox division.

On Thursday Nokia will deliver its final earnings report before its devices business is handed over to Microsoft. That afternoon it will be Microsoft's turn in the hot seat. Eventually, Microsoft will need to justify its $7.17 billion purchase price for the handset maker. These five reasons are a good place to start.


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