Microsoft buys Nokia "Devices and Services" division for $7.2 billion
Editor: Ryan Abel
In what, perhaps, should not be an unsurprising outcome of the appointment of Stephen Elop to head Nokia, Microsoft will be acquiring Nokia's devices and services division as part of a nearly $7.2 billion deal to be finalized early next year, pending regulatory approval:
Microsoft has purchased Nokia's devices and services unit, bringing the Lumia lineup under the Redmond roof. The move unites Windows Phone 8 with its biggest hardware supporter, giving the company the integrated mobile offering it's been looking for with Surface and other devices. When the deal closes in the first quarter of 2014, Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for Nokia's business, plus another €1.65 billion to license its portfolio of patents. (The €5.44-billion total is considerably less than Microsoft paid for Skype in 2011.) 32,000 people are expected to transfer from Nokia to Microsoft, including 18,300 that are "directly involved in manufacturing.
The move signals the true end of an era. Nokia's contributions to the mobile phone segment are as significant as, if not more significant than, any other company in the business. Unfortunately, insistence on incremental improvement to their existing platforms while the market's newer players brought fresh ideas and innovation, and Nokia's inability to pursue real innovation despite the expertise, ideas, and products they had available in-house signalled their decline. They hamstrung their innovative products trying to hold on to an ever-shrinking marketshare with Symbian.
Those of us who experienced the heady days of Nokia's forays into Linux will continue to think on the what-might've-been's had Nokia taken a risk and pulled the trigger on something new and innovative. We had a short glimpse into that future when Nokia announced the N9 and MeeGo as their new flagship platform, but the Elopocalypse brought an end to that future. Perhaps the appliances that represent today's mobile device options would include a more open, accessible, and interesting mobile general computing platform had things gone differently.
All is not a bleak future of mobiles appliances, though, as Nokia's fall from grace represents an opportunity for smaller players to enter the market. More open source, and general computing friendly mobile platform have been announced over the past year. Foremost among them, Jolla, with their real-Linux Sailfish platform which is set to ship on the first Jolla device sometime around the end of this year.
Whatever happens to the mobile device market, it undoubtedly will not be uninteresting. On behalf of this publication, your editors would like to wish all of those affected by the transitions taking place at Nokia the best of luck.