Yesterday, the announcement came that Nokia had been acquired by Microsoft. You can read the official release here. With this move, the stage is now set for one of the fiercest battles to ever be fought in the technology space.
Last Saturday, I was having lunch with the guests at the Savannah Fund Accelerator program and the question of feature phones and smart-phones came up. I stoutly stood in the feature phone camp at that time.
With this new announcement, feature phones will see a decimation in Africa and Asia. In the richer parts of the world, feature phones had already lost ground. But now with these announcement, the final nail has been pushed into the coffin.
Nokia’s support for feature phones made developing for feature phones viable. With the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft. Feature phones have no place in the future.
What I expect to see will be reminiscent of the browser wars of the 90s when Microsoft and Netscape would go at each other for dominance of the web browser market.
Like those times, Microsoft was the underdog in the fight. It would later go on to win. This time Microsoft is also the underdog. What is different now is that it is up against a company very much like itself. Google knows that winning this war will make them the dominant smart-phone platform for the next decade.
For the African developer, it will come down to monetization. The platform that can allow developers get paid for creating applications in a manner that is repeatable and sustainable will win the hearts and minds of developers.
I will be sitting out the rest of the year on this one. But with Android dominating 80% of the global market, if you want to develop an application for reach on smart-phones, you should develop for Android.