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Microsoft, Nokia and the “Devices and Services” Mantra

If I had a thousand dollars for every time I’ve heard the phrase “devices and services” from Redmond this year, I could retire early.  Tellingly, it occurs between four and eight times in the (only nine full paragraphs of the) official joint blog post announcing Microsoft’s move to acquire Nokia’s mobile phone business.  Count ‘em up:

  • Four times outright
  • Twice more as “Phones and Services” (a phone is now a device, by the way)
  • An additional twice more if you include the name of the actual Nokia division acquired by Microsoft (“Nokia Devices & Services”, no less)

That’s a pretty repetitious mantra for a short announcement about smartphones.   But why?
As usual, we will now see pundits taking credit for predicting this (not exactly rocket science given Elop’s history with Microsoft, etc.), critics insisting it’s too little, too late, and other commentary focused wholly on the smartphone aspect of this deal.  After all, on the surface, that’s exactly what it is—a deal about uniting a smartphone OS with a smartphone hardware maker, right?
Except that it’s not.
It’s about those devices and services we keep hearing about.
Yes, the Windows Phone is a “device”, but so is a Surface.  So is a PC.  So is every Windows machine—every slate, laptop, desktop, and smartphone built by a Microsoft OEM partner like Dell, HP, HTC and others, yes, but also many computerized gas pumps, retail point-of-sale machines, et cetera, et cetera.  Pundits and critics often lose sight of this.  And services?
Services are the point of the cloud, its raison d’etre, plain and simple.  Cheap, economical “services” provided by someone else’s infrastructure and consumed by you—be you a consumer user, a small business, or a massive global enterprise—that’s the whole idea of cloud computing.  Microsoft very much wants to provide both the devices you use and the services you consume on them.  That gives them (and Google, and Apple, and Amazon) both the immediate revenue on the device but more importantly, the recurring, predictable revenue they get with your subscriptions to various services.
The Nokia deal is about coupling the hardware and the software even closer together, yes—but the point of that is more than the device, or just this particular device we call a smartphone.  It’s using the device to provide a whole host of services.  Microsoft says so about eight times in nine paragraphs.  Maybe we should all be paying attention.

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Rich Wood

Rich Wood has been planning, designing and building enterprise solutions and internet sites with an emphasis on stellar user and customer experiences since 1997. Rich is a National Director for Content and Commerce Platform work in Perficient Digital. One of the rare breed of strategists to truly understand both the business needs of the customer and the platforms that serve them, he is a keen advocate for and accomplished speaker/writer on issues that surround that inflection point. His work has been published on CMSWire, Sitecore and Microsoft partner blogs, and his own LinkedIn page as well as our various blogs here at Perficient, and he has spoken at multiple major conferences including Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2014. Married and a father of five, Rich enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is a native of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of Marquette University.

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