Quite simply, if Microsoft has done this deal and retained ownership of the source code, Nokia is dead.
Thirty years ago, the OS represented a tiny fraction of the purchase price of a PC. Over the decades that have followed, hardware manufacturers have seen scant reward for their constant innovation and IBM exited the business it pioneered and created. IBM didn’t own the source code its ecosystem relied upon, it had a weak collaboration agreement (remember OS/2?), had no exclusive rights to MSDOS and was completely outwitted. Now, some flavours of Windows cost more than the PC they run on, which is a remarkable triumph for a company with the bureaucracy and innovation problems that Microsoft has.
Microsoft is rubbish at innovation but brilliant at making deals. Bill Gates is not evil. His legacies are a ruthless Microsoft with an ability to kill competitors by spooning them and millions of lives saved throughout the developing world through the deployment of the many billions of $$$ Microsoft has made. Finns will probably be a lot poorer but many of the very poorest in Africa will benefit.
Sure Google is pretty evil (has any reader met an employee of Google they actually liked, who wasn’t arrogant geek meets duplicitous Yellow Pages telesales person?), but at least Android is open source, so Nokia would have retained some independence. Most of the people cantankerous has met from Redmond are really nice, with decent social skills and interests beyond technology or advertising, but this isn’t enough. Nokia is going to bet the Company on technology it doesn’t own, doesn’t control, and, worst of all, doesn’t have an exclusive over. Sorry Elop, but you’ve got to be joking. Yes, Symbian is crap, but it is no reason to commit corporate suicide.