Star-crossed partners

Until very recently, we believed our competitive position in smartphones could be improved with Symbian, as well as MeeGo, and our strategy based on those platforms. We are now of the view, however, that for the longer term our Symbian platform is not sufficiently competitive in leading markets.

Nokia’s SEC Form 20F.

The company’s fiscal year, which ended in June, was one of the worst to date for the mobile space. Although in development since 2008, the Kin was pulled after just over six weeks of sales and amounted to a $240 million write-off before including the $500 million to buy Danger. Windows Mobile’s ramp down is partly intentional as Microsoft is rebooting the platform with Windows Phone 7 and is investing $500 million in marketing to spark new interest.

Microsoft CEO bonus cut for Kin flop, lack of iPad rival | Electronista

One irony is inescapable: the world’s largest device company can’t build commercially successful software and the world’s largest software company can’t built commercially successful devices.

Another irony is that the competitive threats that both companies face came from challengers that were not perceived as such a few years ago.

Google was not a platform vendor three years ago and Apple was not a phone vendor four years ago.

The largest incumbents in separate industries sought salvation in each other after the market they strove to build went to unforeseen challengers. All in a span of three years.

I cannot think of a more succinct testament to the process of disruption.

One can only speculate about the probability of success of this pairing, however, I struggle to find a historic precedent where this type of relationship succeeded.