If there's one clear message Microsoft has sent out with its purchase of Nokia's device business, it's this: We can do anything Apple and Google can.
By purchasing Nokia, Microsoft is stepping squarely into the hardware side of the smartphone market, just as it did with tablets a year ago when it released the Surface RT.
These are foreign tactics for Microsoft, which has built its wealth on sales of software such as its Windows and Office programs. But in the last few years, Microsoft has seen Apple and Google race past it by focusing on both software and hardware.
Microsoft is hoping its purchase of Nokia will help it create an ecosystem that can rival that of Apple's and Google's.
Already, Microsoft has its Bing search engine, the Office 365 suite of productivity tools, the Windows mobile and computer operating systems, and other tools such as Skype and Internet Explorer. But by adding Nokia, Microsoft is gaining a top-notch mobile hardware creator as well as Nokia Maps -- a rival for Google's and Apple's own navigation software.
The deal isn't expected to close until at least early 2014, so it's going to take some time for Microsoft to begin integrating its tools with Nokia's. But once it does, Microsoft will finally be able to offer the same type of complete service as its two rivals.
This is terrible news for BlackBerry, which was squaring off against Microsoft for third place in the smartphone market. In recent quarters, Microsoft and its partners have been outselling BlackBerry, which focuses solely on smartphones and neglects the world of tablets and laptops.
By bringing Nokia in-house, Microsoft should be able to further separate itself from BlackBerry, but the tech giant still has much work to do if it wants to put a true dent into Google's and Apple's leads in the smartphone market.
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Over the last few years, Nokia and Microsoft have been working as each others' primary partners. But clearly, that hasn't done much to faze Apple or Google.
It's hard to pinpoint whose fault that is, but earlier this summer, Nokia lashed out at Microsoft for being slow to update its Windows Phone platform and not filling it with important apps. The most notable missing apps are YouTube and Instagram.
All the while, Nokia has been releasing numerous devices, many of which have been critically praised. Among them is the Lumia 1020, which features perhaps the best camera on any smartphone.
Purchasing Nokia's device business should help Microsoft, but the tech giant has a lot more work to do if it wants to catch up to Apple and Google.