Microsoft is scheduled to conclude its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset unit at the end of this week, the company said.
“Today we are excited to share that we have completed the steps necessary to finalise Microsoft’s acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business,” announced Microsoft’s Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of the software giant’s Legal and Corporate Affairs department in a 21 April statement. Microsoft first announced that it was acquiring Nokia’s smartphone manufacturing operations on 2 September, 2013.
Windows Phone competition
“The transaction will be completed this Friday, 25 April, when we’ll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft family,” added Smith.
Nokia is Microsoft’s premier Windows Phone producer. In a bid to catch up to Apple and Google in the hotly contested smartphone market, the companies formed an alliance in 2011. As part of the partnership, Nokia replaced the Symbian smartphone operating system with Microsoft’s mobile Windows Phone OS.
Addressing the massive deal, funded by Microsoft’s overseas holdings, then-chief executive Steve Ballmer described the transaction in an email to staffers as “a smart acquisition for Microsoft, and a good deal for both companies”.
The acquisition, originally expected to close during the first quarter of this year, hit some speed bumps. “As with any multinational agreement of this size, scale and complexity, our two companies have made adjustments to the original deal throughout the close preparation process,” revealed Smith. The alterations, he explained, entailed “numerous agreements to address items ranging from manufacturing to IT”.
In December, China’s Ministry of Commerce subjected the deal to an antitrust investigation over concerns that Microsoft would hike patent fees for the country’s smartphone makers, namely Lenovo, Xiaomi and ZTE, once the tech titan took ownership of Nokia’s IP. China granted final approval earlier this month.
“The original deal had all employees in Nokia’s Chief Technology Office continuing with Nokia,” said Smith. The terms were changed “so the 21 employees in China working on mobile phones will join Microsoft and continue their work”.
Smith explained that the companies also ran into complications in South Korea. Originally, Microsoft was to acquire Nokia’s manufacturing plant in that country. “The agreement was adjusted and Microsoft will not acquire the facility,” said Smith.
Finally, Microsoft is taking over Nokia.com and related social media accounts “for the benefit of both companies and our customers for up to a year”, said Smith.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is reportedly mulling a name change once the acquisition is completed. Nokia Power User posted a leaked email to Nokia’s business suppliers that indicated that the brand will be renamed Microsoft Mobile.