Earlier this month, Microsoft agreed to buy almost all of Nokia's devices and license patents. The transaction is expected to close within the first quarter of 2014, and investors should regard Nokia's ongoing phone strategy as Microsoft's. Nokia may be going through the motions, but for all practical purposes, the new devices are de facto Microsoft products.
Microsoft may feel like it is pushing a rock up a hill trying to capture market share from Apple and Amazon in the tablet space, but it does strengthen Microsoft's competitive position with Google. Selling tablets has been the retribution for BlackBerry and Barnes & Noble. Despite less than resolute sales of facade, consumers will soon have another tablet from which to choose.
Every tablet sold grows Microsoft's ecosystem and helps maintain the critical mass of users required to keep a steady flow of new and updated apps. Once BlackBerry lost the enthusiasm of app developers, it was easy to see why consumers picked Android and iPhones over BlackBerry, when given a choice of smartphones.