And so it begins!
Rumors have been flying since the initial WP7 Lumia 900 was released, that at some point Microsoft would swallow up Nokia. These rumors have intensified in light of Redmond producing their own line of Surface tablets. Driving the Windows 8 bus like Google did with the Nexus line of phones and tablets.
Announced this evening Nokia is selling off their Devices and Services business to Microsoft for 5.44 billion Euro, with Nokia expected to gain 3.2 billion on the sale if it’s approved in 2014 by Nokia shareholders. Nokia will focus on networking infrastructure, developing their HERE platform of navigation solutions, and “Advanced Technologies”. Plus they’ll have a war chest of patents to profit off of.
Microsoft gains an incredible hardware development platform out of this transfer, responsible for the most compelling Windows Phone 8 hardware in the ecosystem. Plus they’ll receive a ten year grace on Nokia’s patent collection while becoming a “strategic licensee” of HERE solutions.
This is a very interesting development. Nokia has been struggling to gain traction with high end premier smartphones, but was finding some success in mid-range and low end hardware. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will be as interested in that segment of the market, and if they’ll continue pushing forward into developing markets with Asha devices and other low end solutions.
More commentary and analysis as this develops!
Microsoft is already speaking out, making it clear they will be absorbing 32,000 Nokia employees. They will also be continuing support and development of the Asha platform. They’ll be setting up a new data center in Finland to facilitate the transfer, and that at the end of the sale Nokia executives will also transfer over to Microsoft including Mr. Stephen Elop.
Nokia will hold a press conference September 3rd at 11 a.m. EEST – http://press.nokia.com/
Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility weighed in on the sale:
“Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business will help strengthen the Windows Phone ecosystem. It underscores how the future of mobile computing will be software-driven and cloud-based, further taking advantage of high-speed mobile networks to transform how we live and work.”
Hit the jump for Microsoft’s official press release: