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Microsoft Businesses Cellphones

Microsoft In Talks To Buy Nokia's Smartphone Division? 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-much-were-you-asking? dept.
lightbox32 writes "Analyst Eldar Murtazin announced today that Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was soon to meet his Nokia counterpart Stephen Elop to finalize the purchase of Nokia's smartphone division, which would see patents, staff, and some plants transferred to Microsoft, for an undisclosed price. From the article: '“Steve Ballmer, Andy Lees and Stephen Elop and Kai Ostamo will meet in Las Vegas to finalize agreement about Nokia smartphone unit. Bye Nokia,” he tweeted on Thursday morning."
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Microsoft In Talks To Buy Nokia's Smartphone Division?

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  • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:20PM (#38605162)

    Because companies deny everything up until it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:21PM (#38605164)

    Because that's what Slashdot is for. A lie is set forth and geeks who think they know stuff yammer on about it for about 500 comments. Stories like this are practically a slashdot lubricant.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:21PM (#38605166) Journal

    Go tell your OEMs that you are not a competitor? Gee, that will really make them want to leave Android for Windows Phone Mango. lol

    Go look up OS/2 would be my advice. OS/2 beat the crap out of Windows 3.1 and even Windows 95. No OEM would touch it as IBM was a competitor.

  • Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:24PM (#38605186)
    They really do want to be Apple don't they. :)
    First the Microsoft stores, emulating (Badly) the Apple stores.
    Now jumping into the phone business.
    At least it is entertaining to watch.
  • by leoplan2 (2064520) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:30PM (#38605224)
    They will keep denying that rumor... If they accept it, it will be a huge PR disaster...
  • Qt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c++0xFF (1758032) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:40PM (#38605304)

    Here's hoping such a deal (if it's not just a rumor and actually goes through) doesn't touch Qt. I was happy when Nokia bought it, but I really, really don't want MS to get control over Qt.

    I guess it comes down to corporate structure. Is Qt part of the smartphone division? The two are closely related (and it's why Nokia bought Qt to begin with), so I wouldn't be surprised.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:42PM (#38605316) Homepage

    Because no company has ever denied something right up until it happened, right?

    Nokia denying it means absolutely nothing.

  • Not plausible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:43PM (#38605330)

    Is there any point in posting an unsubstantiated rumour by someone who has previously claimed that the deal was happening back in May and that Nokia's phone division would be sold by the end of 2011 [businessinsider.com]? Nokia is predominantly a phone maker, and I really can't see them wanting to sell the main business of their company to anyone. What would be left of the company?

    And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones? And Nokia have the connections with the carriers that is required to get the phones into the retail system. Given the way Windows phones haven't really been pushed by the carriers, I would think that they need the sales team at Nokia. Buying the patents and manufacturing plants only solves part of the problem - and that assumes that there is a problem in the first place that requires the purchase.

    Finally, I don't think the other phone companies like HTC, LG, and Samsung would feel happy about Microsoft moving into their territory. This sale would only cause friction with those companies, is an expensive risk, and provides no benefit considering that Nokia are already committed to selling Microsoft's platform now.

  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:48PM (#38605344)

    I thought they already "bought" Nokia by having their cuckoo-CEO Stephen Elop installed as chief ramrod and bottle washer.

    Could this mean that Microsoft isn't sure that Elop is going to stick around and that the board might get rid of him? Oh that would be fun to watch.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Antitrust? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:53PM (#38605370)
    why? They have no monopoly in the phone business, in fact they have the exact opposite, there is likely to be zero problem with such a purchase. However the story is all FUD anyway, it doesn't make sense from either Microsoft's or Nokia's perspective for such a sale
  • Re:Not plausible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:53PM (#38605374)

    Is there any point in posting an unsubstantiated rumour by someone who has previously claimed that the deal was happening back in May and that Nokia's phone division would be sold by the end of 2011?

    Eh, if it happens in the next couple months he's not far off in corporate-acquisition-time. He nailed the forced move of Nokia to Windows Phone back months before it happened and people said the same things about him then.

    Nokia is predominantly a phone maker, and I really can't see them wanting to sell the main business of their company to anyone. What would be left of the company?

    Nothing, but I suspect that Microsoft is, by far, the party with the most power here. They have a friendly CEO in charge and a pliable board, willing to do as they say. What would be left? A shell of a company, loaded down with restrictions that would bar them from entering the smartphone space and, for spite, from ever using the patents they sell with Linux.

    And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones? And Nokia have the connections with the carriers that is required to get the phones into the retail system. Given the way Windows phones haven't really been pushed by the carriers, I would think that they need the sales team at Nokia. Buying the patents and manufacturing plants only solves part of the problem - and that assumes that there is a problem in the first place that requires the purchase.

    If they do it, I imagine they could always work out a "discount" of some sort. But most importantly, they have someone who can part the company out to get MS the best deal, rather than having to buy the whole company and all the stuff they don't want (dumbphones, symbian, the N9/Maemo legacy.) Microsoft would probably redouble their efforts to be like Apple, which is why they'd probably also take all the sales teams as well.

    Finally, I don't think the other phone companies like HTC, LG, and Samsung would feel happy about Microsoft moving into their territory. This sale would only cause friction with those companies, is an expensive risk, and provides no benefit considering that Nokia are already committed to selling Microsoft's platform now.

    If I were going to fling (more) barbs in Microsoft's direction, I expect they'd leverage the patents they have to raise the "price" of Android even further above Windows Phone 7, and constrain the options of other vendors so that they have no choice but to compete directly with MS or pay them a ton of cash.

  • Re:Not plausible (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dracos (107777) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @08:59PM (#38605418)

    If this does happen and anyone is surprised by it since Elop took over, they're idiots.

    The Nokia/WP7 partnership has already done damage to Nokia. MS knows (or or expected) that WP7 wouldn't gain traction, and that they'd have to buy a handset maker to make it competitive. Now that Nokia has submitted to their doom, MS can become an OEM for almost peanuts. I'm surprised that Ballmer didn't let Nokia bleed out longer.

    The people within Nokia that have carrier relationships would be kept on and assimilated to doing sales the Microsoft way. Redmond may have their flaws, but sales really isn't one of them... they need to get their foot further in the door with the carriers.

    Plus, none of the other OEMS really screamed when Google bought Motorola Mobility.

  • QT? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @09:03PM (#38605440) Homepage Journal

    If this were to happen, what about QT?

    The phone division i don't think anyone cares about at this point. I didn't even know there still was one :). But we would NOT want QT to fall into the wrong hands.

    But if this is BS like it seems to be.. then who cares.

  • by tgd (2822) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @09:22PM (#38605556)

    Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division several hours ago. Why is this rumor still echoed on slashdot?

    Because it gets ad views. Duh.

  • Re:Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucm (889690) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @09:52PM (#38605744)

    They really do want to be Apple don't they. :)

    First the Microsoft stores, emulating (Badly) the Apple stores.

    Now jumping into the phone business.

    At least it is entertaining to watch.

    Nah Microsoft wants to be everything, not just Apple. It became clear to me once I saw that in SharePoint there is a button "I Like It". (And as usual it's big, annoyingly friendly and takes a lot of screen real estate).

  • Re:Not plausible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @09:57PM (#38605782)

    But Nokia lacked direction the with Maemo which got merged with Intel's Moblin to become MeeGo.

    They produced the N9, which was "MeeGo compatible" and based on Maemo. It has apparently sold quite well and met with extremely favorable reviews. They had a direction and had to fight to get where they did due to the Symbian camps in the company interfering. Had that problem been solved and Maemo/MeeGo been pushed to the forefront instead of WP7, I doubt that Nokia's ability to compete would have been questioned. Problem is that would take a CEO with a vested interest in Nokia's success and independence and I don't believe Elop ever had that.

  • Re:Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:31PM (#38605986) Journal

    Um, you need to look up "on-call". But, no, wait. I see the misunderstanding. I get *paid* to be on-call. Does that make more sense? Or is this some ninety nine percenter thing I don't understand?

  • What if they did? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:47PM (#38606076) Journal
    Nokia's strong point (or given their performance lately, least weak point) is very much in their mobile phone business. If you look at their latest quarterly earnings [nokia.com], the net sale of mobile phones decreased (-14% from last) significantly less than their smart phones (-39% from last). On top of that, their smartphone sales dropped significantly in NA since last year, presumably because of the competition in the market and their lack of a real offering lately.

    Furthermore, it's pretty clear (as in their only choice at the moment) that they will use Windows Phone as their only smartphone platform and are dropping any commitments to any alternatives they had on the shelf. There is a good chance they will make deep system changes in their ROMs to enhance the experience as well, further enveloping their relationship with them. I doubt they will commit to Android sometime down the line, since (a) Elop has obvious ties with MS and (b) it will be way more work for them to "Nokia"-ize the UI to make it appealing to people like every other manufacturer did.

    So what if they sold that division to Microsoft? Their bread-and-butter won't change and won't be influenced by the move. Microsoft won't build any devices; if anything, they will have an easier hand in making sure the hardware gels perfectly with Windows Phone to make the experience as awesome as possible. Both companies would be better positioned to compete with Apple and Android since they will be able to use them as the "Nexus" of Windows Phone and, if they don't step on Nokia's toes, provide an awesome experience that neither company can match AND have manufacturer variety that gives people just enough choice to be appealing without being overwhelming. It's a win-win, though I'm probably being naive and overly simplistic.

    I know the news is fake, but I'm really excited about this collaboration. I love Nokia and I think this will finally make them relevant again if they don't let Microsoft run the hardware design show too much. They already did the right thing by setting a tight hardware baseline; Nokia can handle the rest.
  • by Skal Tura (595728) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @11:04PM (#38606146) Homepage

    because the /. staff don't check the stories?

    Besides, this is the kind of thing which i would expect to see 1st of April, not anytime else.

    Nokia's business has, and always has been, to advance mobile phone technologies through hardware innovation. Selling their smart phone business would be bit like selling your left arm.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:03AM (#38606510)

    And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones?

    Just to add to this point: Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype, a company that has never made a profit, and is not expected to any time soon. These kind of purchases are strategic, and aim to expand market share indirectly by forming synergies between different products; they don't have to be directly profitable in the short-term.

  • by dokc (1562391) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:07AM (#38606530) Journal

    Nokia's business has, and always has been, to advance mobile phone technologies through hardware innovation. Selling their smart phone business would be bit like selling your left arm.

    More like a selling the head and I wouldn't be surprised if they really do it.
    Stephen Elop did the *great* job as a M$ mole and he gave Nokia on a silver platter. Smartphones will be rebranded as M$ phones and Nokia brand will be sold to some Chinese manufacturer.

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:05AM (#38606786)

    Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division several hours ago...

    Why would Microsoft buy it when they already got it for free?

  • Re:Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:56AM (#38607034) Journal

    Yep, that's it, pretty much exactly.

    So what is it with kids these days? What happened to, you know, working for for a living? It seems like an entire generation wants ipods handed to them for nuthin.

  • Re:QT? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peppepz (1311345) on Friday January 06, 2012 @04:18AM (#38607546)
    The good news is that QT has been moved to an open governance model, and it's still needed for Nokia's dumbphone division, which is not being sold to MS.

    http://blog.qt.nokia.com/2011/09/12/qt-project/ [nokia.com]
    http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/10/21/the-qt-project-is-live/ [nokia.com]

  • by Xest (935314) on Friday January 06, 2012 @06:31AM (#38607988)

    "Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division"

    Yet.

    Come on, the whole Nokia thing has been a done deal since Elop as their new CEO was announced.

    It's clearly been planned all along, that if the major shareholders let Elop become head of Nokia as a Microsoft puppet, and turn it into a Microsoft only shop, and make a success of it, that Microsoft will then at some later date when Nokia is fully turned around as a Windows Phone producer buy the shares.

    The whole Elop thing didn't make sense whatsoever, when he was taken on it was obvious Android was the best bet for Nokia, yet they took someone on with disturbingly close ties to Microsoft, they let him choose Windows Phone when there was no evidence it was going to be a success despite the fact Android was already succeding and could've saved Nokia too. The only argument was that Nokia couldn't differentiate with Android, but it's bollocks - Samsung most certainly has managed to.

    Really, the only explanation for the shareholders allowing such an insanely weird set of choices to go through is that they were going to get something out of it. Promises of an eventual Microsoft buyout would be the most obvious something - it's the only way many of them would ever see their money back on their investment after Nokia lost it's way and share values plummeted. Chances are they'll still get to keep their shares in Nokia's networks business when the sale is split on top.

    Elop's takeover of Nokia was a coup by Microsoft, that much was obvious. Even at the time I assumed and said there's a high likelihood it would lead to eventual takeover. This leaking of the story and subsequent denial could just as well be a tactic by the two companies to test the water on public and business opinion and see if it's safe to go ahead and do it yet.

    Sure there's a number of ways it may not happen - regulators saying no, opinion being far too negative to make it feasible, Nokia still failing to turn itself around and so on, but I'd wager the basic premise of the story has some truth to it - that there is intention by Microsoft to take it over, and will from the shareholders to let it be taken over by Microsoft. If there wasn't some degree of this they wouldn't have let it go so foolishly and riskily down the completely untested Windows Phone route in the first place when the slightly less risky option of investing in improving MeeGo was there, or perhaps more obviously, the perfectly safe Android was sat in waiting.

  • by Tom (822) on Friday January 06, 2012 @06:46AM (#38608058) Homepage Journal

    It's not any more unbelievable than ruining your smart phone business by picking the worst available OS option and publicly announcing you are running with it no matter what.

  • by backslashdot (95548) on Friday January 06, 2012 @01:47PM (#38611688)

    How to acquire a company:

    1. Send one of your own executives to be target companies CEO
    2. Target company's new CEO implements total dependency on your companies product
    3. Target company's share price collapses as they lose market share
    4. Acquire target company for cheap
    5. Profit! (though possibly in this case .. loss!)

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

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