The Microsoft-Nokia (and BlackBerry) parlor game is exciting, sure, but what it really tells you is how far ahead Google and Apple are. For those of us who have been using Windows Phone for the last two years, we know there is much to like about Windows Phone -- but clearly not much enough. Rumors abound that Steve Ballmer is about to launch a massive "restructuring" -- whatever that means here, practically speaking. After a dozen years of stagnation and massive market share losses to Google and Apple, this would appear to be Ballmer's last chance. Fundamentally, a company's place in the computing market is nothing if it doesn't include mobile. At this point, it's hard to see Microsoft's place in the mobile world without solving the Nokia and BlackBerry dilemmas in their common quest to offer an alternative to Google and Apple.
If Ballmer fails to get a "grand solution" to the Nokia and BlackBerry questions, perhaps it will be time for Microsoft's board to revive those age-old talks with Yahoo! ( YHOO) again. It looks like it would take an ex-employee from Google and Apple to figure out a future for Microsoft, and at this point Marissa Mayer may hold the highest rank of anyone realistically available for the job. At the time of publication the author was long GOOG, AAPL, MSFT and NOK.Follow @antonwahlmanThis article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.