Nokia joined forces with Microsoft two-and-a-half years ago, when it signed up to use the new Windows Phone smartphone operating system, a deal which saved Nokia from obscurity, and it has produced some exciting mobile phones since, including the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 1020.
Today, the next stage in their relationship has been announced – Microsoft is to buy Nokia’s Devices and Services division for 3.79 billion euros, and its patent portfolio for 1.65 billion euros. The news may be surprising, but a Microsoft buyout has been rumoured since the first deal was struck back in 2011.
A Microsoft statement confirming the news calls it, “A smart acquisition for Microsoft, and a good deal for both companies.” Adopting Windows Phone software was both a risk and the only sensible choice for Nokia at the time, and despite making some great phones, it has still struggled to keep up with Android’s momentum.
So what will happen to the Nokia team? CEO Stephen Elop, an ex-Microsoft man, will return to the company as the head of a new Devices team, while Jo Harlow, a familiar face at Nokia press events, will continue in her role as head of Smart Devices. Other executives will follow, but news on lower-level positions isn’t clear.
The acquisition still has to be approved by Nokia’s shareholders, and is subject to the usual regulatory checks. However, should everything go smoothly, the deal will be complete by the end of March next year.