Ballmer, you dog! In a move that I honestly didn’t see coming even though it makes so much sense, Microsoft has announced that it will be purchasing Nokia’s Devices and Services division. This includes smartphones as well as, presumably, Nokia software products such as Maps. Of course, the deal is still pending and will require regulatory approval, which is expected to be achieved sometime in 2014. Unlike something like AT&T’s attempted T-Mobile buyout, though, it’s difficult to see any reason why this won’t go through.
The move is a significant one for Microsoft, as it essentially gives the company the ability to churn out smartphones from within, from design to manufacturing to distribution, without having to ramp up its own hardware wing from scratch. Though somewhat puzzling, as the company had already begun to do so with its Surface tablets, it also makes perfect sense – the Nokia partnership has been going strong for two years now, the company is dedicated to Windows Phone, and CEO Stephen Elop used to work for Microsoft. Well, used to is actually no longer accurate – he once again does work for Microsoft.
Elop will be in charge of the new “expanded devices team” at Microsoft, superseding Julie Larson-Green and making him the master of all things Microsoft hardware. Surprisingly, this not only includes things like Surface, but also the Xbox division as well. Larson-Green hasn’t been ousted, though – she’ll simply join Elop’s team once the acquisition is complete.
It’s also worth noting that this marks the end of any and all Nokia-branded smartphones. The company is barred from using the Nokia name on any device until December 31st, 2015, meaning all devices will be Microsoft branded instead. Nokia still owns its own name, so they could technically release Nokia feature phones down the road. That said, both “Lumia” and “Asha” have been transferred over to Microsoft, so it’s pretty conclusive that Nokia-branded smartphones are no more.
This is pretty wild news! What do you think this means for Nokia? How about Microsoft? Is Elop secretly going to become the new CEO as well? Let us know.
Source: The New York Times