The VAR Guy remains upbeat about Microsoft's overall business strategy. But oh... the smartphone market continues to be a really sore point. The Microsoft-Nokia smartphone partnership is losing -- rather than gaining -- market share, and Nokia is cutting 10,000 employees. It sort of makes The VAR Guy wonder: Can two drowning companies really save each other in the smartphone market?

Before you answer that question look at these data points from The Wall Street Journal:
  • Nokia is cutting 10,000 employees in its mobile division by the end of 2013. That's in addition to 14,000 cuts announced last year.
  • Nokia shipped more than 2 million Lumias smartphones in Q1, compared to 35 million iPhones.
  • In Q1, Apple had 23% of the global market for smartphones and Android had 59% and both were growing, according to International Data Corp. (IDC).
  • Microsoft's smartphone market share fell to 2.2 percent, down from 2.6 percent in Q1 2011. Ouch.

Microsoft: Still Healthy Elsewhere

For channel partners it's important to keep the bigger Microsoft picture in mind. Overall, Microsoft's software business continues to grow. Sales of SharePoint, Lync, Exchange typically enjoy double-digit year-over-year sales growth each quarter.

Even as Microsoft struggles in the smartphone and tablet markets, the software giant is adjusting its software strategy to keep partners engaged. One example: This week's Windows Intune upgrade allows MSPs and VARs to remotely manage Windows, Apple iOS and Google Android devices -- though Windows Intune requires a one-year subscription to the cloud service.

Back in the smartphone market, The VAR Guy wishes he had advice for Nokia and Microsoft. But sometimes even an outspoken blogger is at a loss for words...