Nokia's a better play, because it will still have wireless infrastructure, mapping and a large intellectual property portfolio, plus all of that cash. Someone might take a run at it. That said, if you bought it on my July call, it is time to sell at least half and maybe all, because I wouldn't want to wait around for something to develop when it already has.
I think that the Microsoft deal smacks of desperation. Think of it like this: Apple's struggling with Samsung, and Apple is a brilliant company that really knows what it is doing. What has Microsoft done right in the last decade, other than Xbox? I can't think of anything.
The Verizon deal? I think that Verizon had been fed up with doing everything right and having to fork over so much money to Verizon Wireless to pay to Vodafone. It's almost as if Verizon's borrowing cheaply to buy back its own shares. That dividend's looking mighty good, too.
I keep thinking back to when I sat next to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at our reunion and he showed me the Nokia phone. Frankly, it was fabulous. I couldn't believe how good it was.But, in the end, many thought the Zune was superior to the iPod. Where the heck did that get you? A best-of-breed device doesn't mean that much if the game is already over. With Apple and Samsung, I think the game is over. Because, as much as I liked the Microsoft-Nokia phone, it simply isn't that much better. The differentiation isn't great enough. The market dominance of Apple and Samsung is too impossible to ignore. Unless Microsoft pays Verizon to take its phone, instead of vice-versa, I see nothing good here. As Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told me today, he's going to wait by the phone for Microsoft to call and offer to pay -- but I shouldn't get my hopes up. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long AAPL.
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