That's one reason why it makes sense to have the fewest number of seams as possible in the Microsoft/Nokia union. Make it official. In fact, if I am Microsoft, I seriously consider taking out a computer company as well. Microsoft could still place Windows with other hardware makers, but it could make Nokia and, let's just say, Dell ( DELL) its flagship smartphone/tablet and PC producers. This type of threesome sets the stage for what is long overdue: an aggressive expansion of Microsoft retail locations right across the street from Apple Stores in the biggest cities across the globe. Ideally, at these outlets, you can only buy Nokia smartphones and tablets and Dell computers powered by Windows along with other standard Microsoft fare, such as the wildly successful Xbox. Of course, this is merely back of the envelope stuff. No matter how Microsoft decides to go about it, the company appears to agree with my overarching theme. It's pretty clear that Nokia does. The jury is still out if Dell will come around to the reality RIM chooses to ignore. You cannot compete effectively against Apple in a world where, sooner rather than later, "everybody" will own a smartphone and where tablets, particularly iPad, will continue to cannibalize PC sales. Companies such as Nokia must position themselves as wholly unified. There's no better choice than allowing a capable behemoth like Microsoft to step out in front.