Friday, February 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm.

Why Microsoft will inevitably try to buy Nokia or RIM

MG Siegler points out that Apple’s iPhone business is bigger than all of Microsoft.

Once you get over the historical weirdness of that, it makes sense: Would you rather pocket hundreds of dollars per phone sold? Or ~$15 in license fees? (A commodity market that Google is trying to send to zero.)

Microsoft has a decent OS in Windows Phone 7. But even if it takes off, it doesn’t have much of a robust business model for phones and tablets — especially in comparison to the Windows/Office gravy train it’s been enjoying for more than a decade. If Nokia’s Windows phones start selling, Nokia is the one that stands to make the big bucks.

I don’t know the details of Microsoft’s deal with Nokia, as far as any sort of revenue sharing goes. But given the importance of smartphones and tablets to the future of computing, it makes sense that Microsoft might eventually want to own the business that’s actually making money. So an eventual bid for Nokia and/or RIM wouldn’t surprise me.

Same thing with Google: The Motorola deal was primarily around patents, but make no mistake: Selling hardware could be a nice addition to whatever ad-based business model Google has in mind for Android.