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Microsoft could make a play for Nokia by this time next year according to sources at the Danske Bank.

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Nokia & Windows’ love child, the 710 Lumia

The sources believe Microsoft will buy the Finnish phone manufacturer in the first half of 2012.

Speculation on Microsoft buying out Nokia has been looming since the two forged their Windows Phone alliance, seeing Nokia’s hardware coupled with Microsoft’s latest mobile software. TechRadar claims the speculation has helped Nokia’s share prices, with the bank’s news propping their shares up by more than 3 per cent.

The resume of Nokia’s current CEO, Stephen Elop, adds fuel to the rumour fire as he previously worked for Microsoft for two years as the head of the Business Division. Some even suspect Elop’s appointment to Nokia this year was a strategic move aimed at facilitating the sale.

Nokia is on the defensive claiming Danske’s word is a rumour.

“We put these rumours to rest a long time ago,” said Nokia’s Doug Dawson. It’s a tough one to rule out though, seeing as companies have a tendency of saying one thing and then doing another.

 
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Nokia’s MeeGo running N9

A quick glance at the phone climate sees software developer Google buying long-time hardware manufacturer Motorola, while Apple has had a long history of developing its own hardware and software. Currently, Microsoft only dabbles in phone software.

Steve Jobs once said in an interview Microsoft’s has no taste. He claimed it was a big problem, leading to a lack of originality and them making “third grade products.”

The late Apple founder has a point: up until Microsoft unifies its mobile/tablet/computing/gaming OS, the company suffers from an identity crisis. Each platform has its own schizophrenic interface, fragmenting software compatibility and leaving them looking, well, tasteless.

Read: Nokia’s N9: A Damaging Love-Hate Relationship

Perhaps buying a hardware company who has a clear understanding of style would help Microsoft compete. And despite Nokia’s previously dismal efforts at competing in the smartphone market, a sample of the N9 is evidence they can make a phone with allure.

Check out the link below for Steve Jobs’ commentary on Microsoft:

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