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What Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition means for backup

In the past few days the technology news has been dominated by one topic: Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset business. There has been plenty of discussion about what this will mean for consumers but very little about how it will affect IT and business more generally. Here we’ve pieced together what is known about the deal to give our thoughts on what it might mean for your business and for your backups.

There seem to be an endless number of reasons behind the acquisition but from a product point of view this looks to be a way for Microsoft to create stronger ties between software and hardware. They’re betting that better coupling of these two will encourage developers to build more apps for the Windows Phone OS, in turn encouraging more users to jump to the platform.

Will this move affect businesses?

As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pointed out in his announcement email, mobile will be part of a triad in their continued focus on the small business market.

“Greater success with phones will strengthen the overall opportunity for us and our partners to deliver on our strategy to create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go,” he said.

This theme of intertwining devices with better business continues throughout Microsoft’s strategy. A document released at the same time as the Nokia acquisition announcement noted that “success in phones is important to success in tablets” and “success in tablets will help PCs”. It’s a logical, but as yet unstated, conclusion that more PC sales will lead to further success in business products like Microsoft Server and Exchange.

It is also worth noting the trove of Motorola Solutions patents that Microsoft will have access to via the deal. Motorola Solutions, as a major player in enterprise mobility, will surely have a ton of business class patents that Microsoft will be wanting to use.

How might the Nokia deal affect backup?

Microsoft’s increased emphasis on an ecosystem of devices means that BYOD backup strategies will be more important than ever. With Redmond encouraging businesses to take up their new devices, IT departments will be under more pressure to have systems and strategies in place that can take into account devices that are used at home and at work.

Backing up and accounting for data on BYOD devices can be a complex, security and privacy filled nightmare, as we’ve written about previously. But with this acquisition one can easily see some kind of integration for Windows Phone OS backups and restores showing up in future releases of Microsoft Server.

What’s next?

With this giant leap into hardware you have to question whether this is a sign of Microsoft’s future strategy as it moves away from a services-only business model to include hardware in its offerings. It certainly makes a Microsoft acquisition of a PC manufacturer seem more likely. More importantly, does this extend this further to include a potential purchase of an enterprise hardware provider for their highly profitable server business?

Bonus: If you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, try this picture. I think my last Nokia was a 6265i back in 2006. What was yours?

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