Having a cursory glance through my RSS reader today has led to even more confusion than usual. In the midst of more WWDC talk than I care to read, and more speculation about iOS 6 than any sane person can truly follow, I found one story that piqued my interest. The title suggested that Samsung, the Korean firm behind umpteen Android smartphones, is in talks to buy Nokia. The same Nokia that can’t catch a break right now, and is apparently hemorrhaging money.
There are a few reasons that this is a possibility, the best being that Nokia’s stock price is falling in an apparent race to the bottom with Facebook. At this point, anyone with two milk bottle tops could probably buy a controlling stake in the Finish phone maker, so why wouldn’t a company like Samsung look at picking it up? Nokia’s R&D labs and other facilities are probably worth getting your hands on, no matter how poorly its phones are selling.
But then, there are more reasons not to do it.
Firstly, there’s that inability to make money we were just talking about. Despite signing a huge deal with Microsoft to use its Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system, Nokia has found itself an also-ran. Barely registering on the radars of the likes of, yes, Samsung, Nokia has slipped to be little more than another smartphone OEM that is scrambling to make money in a market dominated by two players: Samsung and Apple. If it is already doing so well, does Samsung really need Nokia?
Rumors have also been abound that Microsoft is in the running to buy Nokia, with a $12 billion deal mooted. The only thing more surprising than that is the suggestion that Nokia somehow priced itself out of the deal by asking for $17 billion. That’s a lot of billions!
At the end of the day, Samsung doesn’t need Nokia in order to sell phones, it is clearly more than capable of doing that already. What it may want, is someone that is capable of designing them, and with Apple already pushing Samsung over the coals thanks to perceived design similarities, Nokia’s designers could be particularly useful to a company like Samsung.
All told, if Samsung buys Nokia then it would be a real surprise. Possibly even more of a surprise than Google buying Motorola, and that one really did come out of left field. We’ve seen some strange things in the world of technology over the years, but I can’t see this being another one to add to the list.
But I wouldn’t want to put money on it, either.