Microsoft, Nokia Get No Respect; Apple Gets Too Much

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The media met Microsoft's ( MSFT) Surface tablet announcement and details on the cross-platform Windows 8 operating system with little more than childish retorts. That's because the media is blinded by Apple ( AAPL) lust.

In the countless reports issued on Microsoft since the tablet announcement and Windows 8 event, the following themes dominate the headlines:
  • Microsoft screws hardware partners.
  • Early Nokia ( NOK) Lumia adopters got the shaft.

Let us not forget the slew of stories, including one from TheStreet's Anton Wahlman, telling Microsoft how it can fix a device that few people have even used. That's almost as bad as the whack jobs who destine Apple's iTV to fail before they even know what it will be.

Usually when Apple does something bold or out of character, the media not only calls it shrewd, it assumes lap-dog position for the company. A double standard exists.

Don't go the obvious route and label today's Apple as a continuation of Steve Jobs' "reality distortion field." It's not nearly as special, profound or sophisticated. In fact, this notion that Apple's brilliance can continue under Tim Cook portends considerable losses for investors who do not take profits in the stock while they have them.


Given the inane media/analyst reaction to Microsoft's recent moves, investors should, at the very least, take a walk to the shore, clear their collective heads and consider taking profits in AAPL and putting that money to work elsewhere. Repeat after me: AAPL is dead money.

I used to be an Apple fist-pumper and chest-thumper. Even a frail Steve Jobs exuded cool at the company's conference when he chiding companies ranging from Research in Motion ( RIMM) to Hewett Packard ( HPQ) for pathetic imitations of Apple products.

Jobs was right. Outside of social/new-media companies and a glut of imaginative start-ups, innovation died in the core of the tech sector, save Apple, over the last decade or so. Blackberry brands itself as "bold," but it does not act as if it is. The same goes for embarrassments such as HP and Dell ( DELL).

Why would the pundits expect Microsoft to stick to the soulless status quo set by these floundering companies? And why would they roundly criticize the company for shaking things up? This counters just about all reasonable thought. Succeed or fail, we should collectively cheer Microsoft for finally doing something that's actually different.

I would have been concerned had Microsoft decided not to produce its own hardware. That would have projected the complacent image that the company felt better about making an easy buck over situating itself for the future.


Finally, a tech company makes original and legitimate attempts to compete, and a majority of observers argue that it either should have remained loyal or was somehow obligated to inform companies like HP and Dell of their intentions? If HP and Dell could not see the writing on the wall, they have bigger troubles than originally thought.

The market continues to ding Nokia because Lumia early adopters (I am one of them) will not be able to upgrade to Windows 8 on their current smartphones. Instead, you'll get Windows 7.8 as well as Nokia's own upgrade on current Lumia smartphones. Based on reports of what these updates will include, it's clear that the media has set off a small bit of outrage for no real reason.

Furthermore, given the relatively small base of Lumia owners, the upgrade/no upgrade-related implications are practically nil. If every Lumia owner running Windows 7.8 upgraded to a Windows 8 Phone, it would not move the needle much. And if every current Lumia owner got angry over the situation (they won't because there really is no situation), it would not affect the bottom line at all.

For months, the media and almost every Wall Street or tech analyst I have come across has missed the point. They continue to miss it. The current iteration of Windows Phones was a dry run. It was never intended to be the make it or break it run so many folks, often blinded by Apple lust, made it out to be.


This fall, it's go time. Nokia will have its fate sealed by this time next year, if not sooner. Microsoft will either fade into permanent irrelevancy or emerge as a formidable threat and a renewed player in the broad tech space.

I have my money behind Windows 8 driving success at both Microsoft and Nokia. That's not necessarily the right play for all investors. You make your own choices.

That said, be careful if you're investing on today's prevalent sentiment. We have yet to even go through the full batting order. It's early in the game. I expect the vibe to shift considerably in the next 6 to 12 months as Apple underwhelms and Microsoft over-delivers.

At the time of publication, Pendola was long MSFT and NOK.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
At the time of publication, Pendola was long MSFT and NOK.