January 02, 2014, 8:53 PM — 2013 was a busy year for Microsoft, which announced that CEO Steve Ballmer will leave the company after 33 years, upgraded its controversial Windows 8 platform, doubled down on its Surface tablets, reveled in the success of Office 365, and successfully tweaked Windows Server. But there's more to do in 2014.
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Here's a look at seven things Microsoft should put on its to-do list for 2014.
No. 1: Make Nokia work
Microsoft could have just strengthened its partnership with Nokia, perhaps investing heavily in the company to become a major shareholder with sway over what Nokia does. Instead it ponied up $7.2 billion to own it. In buying the company Microsoft gains total control over its hardware products phones primarily but also tablets.
The Nokia deal falls in line with Microsoft's aim to be a products and services company. It did a pretty good job with its Surface hardware, even when it had virtually no tablet-manufacturing experience. Nokia is already credited with making good phones, but they're saddled with the Windows Phone operating system, which has yet to capture the imagination of buyers like Android phones and the iPhone have.
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However, measuring the success of the Nokia deal isn't about whether its hardware can unseat these more popular devices. Worldwide there are vast markets for low-end phones in markets where cell service is still taking hold and where Windows Phone can make headway, says IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.
Nokia makes the Asha family of low-end feature and smartphones -- three of which the company claims are the top three selling phones of their kind in India, the Middle East and Africa, which are considered undeveloped markets that hold vast potential for new sales. Nokia announced three new Asha smartphones this fall to sell in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East (two of them in Latin America as well) for between $69 and $99.