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Nokia Shareholders Approve Sale of Mobile Hardware Unit to Microsoft

Nokia Shareholders Approve Sale of Mobile Hardware Unit to Microsoft

The first major post-agreement hurdle between Microsoft and Nokia has been completed, with Nokia shareholders approving the deal that will see Microsoft absorb the Finnish firm’s mobile hardware business. With a value of approximately $7.2 billion, the deal will thrust Microsoft directly into the smartphone manufacturing industry, giving the company an opportunity to take advantage of the vertical benefits enjoyed by rival Apple. It will also see the return to Microsoft of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who lead Microsoft’s Business Division before taking the helm at Nokia in 2010.

The acquisition, expected to be finalized early next year, comes in the midst of major organizational changes at Microsoft. Following a company-wide reorganization under the “One Microsoft” banner this past summer, longtime CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement from the company. The Microsoft board is now searching for someone to become only the third CEO in the company’s history, and Mr. Elop is reportedly on the short list of candidates, along with Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Skype CEO Tony Bates, Microsoft’s own Satya Nadella, and CSC CEO Mike Lawrie.

There is still no word on when the board plans to make a selection, but rumors are already swirling that Mr. Elop would spin off Microsoft’s Xbox and sell (or kill) the company’s Bing search division. Both are controversial decisions that pit immediate shareholder interests against the company’s longterm flexibility, although it must be stressed that Mr. Elop has yet to make any public statements showing support either way on such a move.

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Jim Tanous

Nov 19, 2013

676 Articles Published

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