Microsoft Closes $7.2 Billion Nokia Purchase, So Now What?
It’s a done deal, or kauppa tehty, as they say in Finland.
Microsoft said the deal will make for tighter integration and greater efficiency.
“The opportunity for Microsoft to be both a devices and services company, so that it can deliver the complete proposition to its consumers, is at the heart of this,” said Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO and now executive vice president of the Devices Group at Microsoft.
“Customers should see a bunch of great end-to-end experiences,” said Tom Gibbons, the Microsoft VP responsible for the Nokia integration. “The feature phone product family coming to Microsoft will start to have more of the Microsoft services shipped on those phones right out of the gate.”
The two companies had originally hoped to close the deal earlier in the year, but had to push things out as they awaited various regulatory approvals across the globe. The companies had said earlier this week that Friday would mark the official close.
In one sense, not a whole lot is changing. Nokia was already the dominant maker of Windows Phones and that will remain the case with the business transferring to Microsoft. At the same time, Microsoft had been working with other companies, such as Samsung and HTC, to make Windows Phones and the company has said it hopes to continue licensing Windows Phone to others.
But in another, also real, sense, the Nokia acquisition marks a big shift for Microsoft. The company has made some hardware for a long time, dating back to mice and keyboards, through the Xbox and, more recently, Surface. But those efforts will pale in comparison to being a global provider of cellphones ranging from inexpensive basic phones, through Asha feature phones, the recently introduced Android-based Nokia X family and, of course, Lumia Windows Phones.
In its earnings conference call on Thursday, Microsoft didn’t give any guidance on what to expect from the Nokia business, but did reiterate its plans to cut costs. It will be interesting to see which if any product lines Microsoft decides to jettison.
There is also the interesting question of what becomes of the remaining Nokia. The company retains two key operating units — its Here maps unit and NSN network equipment business. In addition, Nokia retains a ton of patents, and there is considerable consternation in some camps as to how aggressive Nokia may be in trying to monetize the patent portfolio now that it is no longer making phones of its own.