Earlier this week, Microsoft acquired its own handset manufacturer by buying up Nokia's devices and services business. The move brings Microsoft closer to its goal of being a devices and services company as a whole. It is also likely to make other manufacturers avoid the Windows Phone platform so as not to compete directly with Microsoft on its own turf.
Microsoft's acquisition is unlikely to change much in the smartphone space, but it also might only be the first of many purchases that will consolidate the market in the coming years. DigiTimes today reported that the Microsoft/Nokia transaction is likely to spur other manufacturers to acquire smaller handset makers. According to the report's unnamed "market watchers," the smartphone market will eventually be made up of a handful of larger manufacturers.
Though this prediction seems like a safe bet, odds are still up in the air for which company might be the next to be bought. Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and Google are the obvious candidates to buy up smaller competitors, though DigiTimes also mentions that Intel could buy a mobile manufacturer to shore up its mobile influence. As for who's likely to be acquired, with Motorola and Nokia now in the hands of Google and Microsoft, respectively, the floundering HTC now has acquisition rumors surrounding it.