Microsoft, Nokia and Turkey
According to the Hürriyet Daily News, “Microsoft Corp said it would buy Nokia Oyj’s phone business and license its patents for 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion), making its boldest foray yet into mobile devices and bringing executive Stephen Elop back into the fold.
“Nokia chief Elop, a former Microsoft executive, will return as Microsoft’s board ponders a successor to current CEO Steve Ballmer, who will depart sometime in the next 12 months after initiating a reorganization intended to transform the software company into a devices and services group in the mould of Apple Inc.”
When such big moves happen, every player in the technology world gets affected by it somehow. In the first analysis it may seem that Turkey might be one of the last countries to be touched by the acquisition. After all it is more about two technology giants and their main rivals like Samsung, HTC and Blackberry and Google, none of which Turkey has direct relations with. We are not a producer of any type of phones, be they smart or regular. We are not one of the many research and development hot spots that these companies have all over the world.
However, we are one of the leading markets for mobile devices. Unfortunately, our only role in this vast playground is the role of purchaser.
Still, the merger of Microsoft and Nokia might profoundly affect future generations through the upcoming FATİH tenders. In these, millions of tablet devices will be bought by the Turkish government, and I believe Microsoft has become the biggest contender for the massive pay check with this move. I could speculate that one of the reasons why the tenders were cancelled and postponed was to wait for this merger. If you remember, Microsoft was not even on the original shortlist, because our government rightfully demanded that the codes of the devices should be open sourced. Microsoft then paid a visit to our president and, magically, Microsoft declared that it would also taking part in the tender process. We have been waiting ever since for the tender to be opened, and I guess it will not take too long now.
Naturally, this is all speculation, as our president didn’t bother to give information about Microsoft’s visit to the media.
There are many lessons for Turkey about all this. First and foremost, we need open communication so that we as journalists won’t have to guess things.
The second biggest lesson to learn is about Turkey’s investment strategies. Microsoft is a software firm and it just snapped up the world second biggest manufacturer of mobile phones for only a few billion dollars.
So, you would think that Turkey’s leaders would be willing to create the next Microsoft, right?
No. Our government is obsessed on being a “second Nokia” with our “national phone.” I just can’t see any sense in it. Of course, it would be nice to have a national mobile phone manufacturer, but instead of the massive investment needed for the factory, technology, patents, workers, energy, raw materials, etc., we could simply create a nice atmosphere for software engineers to get into business. I believe that this would result in a greater return on investment.