Microsoft enters a new era after purchase of Nokia, promises 'we're not like everybody else'

Microsoft has to continue to build its mobile platform while creating both polished high-end devices and Nokia-branded feature phones

Last Friday Microsoft completed its purchase of Nokia’s mobile phone unit and this week the company officially entered a new era with its first Microsoft-branded Nokia advert.

For once the company gets a chance to tout its ‘underdog’ status, with the new spot depicting a black and white world where the only splash of colour comes from enlightened consumers using Windows-powered devices.

Positioning themselves as the rebels may be a solid (if unimaginative) advertising strategy for Microsoft, but it’s not something that the company wants to see reflected too enthusiastically in the market. Unfortunately the latest figures show exactly that.

Breakdown of global market share from Kantar Worldpanel show Apple regaining ground in the first quarter of 2014 and Android continuing to dominate. Google’s mobile operating system took home 70.7 per cent of the global sales followed by iOS with 19.2 per cent and Windows Phone with 8.1 per cent.

Dominic Sunnebo, the strategic insight director with Kantar, commented that Microsoft had had a tough start to the year “as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones.”

In richer countries like the UK and the US Apple holds a greater market share (32.1 per cent and 35.9 per cent respectively) while developing markets like Brazil and China show more of a sway towards Google devices (87.6 per cent and 80 per cent respectively).

Now that the purchase of Nokia’s mobile unit is complete (the Finnish company still retains three core businesses covering network infrastructure, maps and a licensing arm) Microsoft has a big challenge ahead, juggling the development of Windows Phone as a platform while continuing to ship its own, polished hardware under the Lumia brand.

The difficulties facing the Redmond giant can be compared with those that eventually defeated Google after it purchased Motorola’s mobile unit only to sell it two years later to Chinese firm Lenovo. And unlike Google, Microsoft doesn’t have an already-popular operating system licensed by various companies pumping out varied designs – it’s trying to build that at the same time.

As their new advert shows Microsoft certainly isn’t ‘like everybody else’, but whether they can make that work for them remains to be seen.

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