Today the European Union signed off on Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset business, a transaction worth more than $7 billion. Recently, the deal was approved by Nokia’s shareholders, and the United States government.
Little remains in the way of Microsoft’s absorbing Nokia’s hardware business. The company’s Windows Phone project has become essentially a one-pony show, with Nokia’s Lumia line of handsets comprising more than 90% of its total unit volume.
That Nokia was selling so many phones was good for the company, but at the same time Microsoft was slowly losing control of its own platform. Buying Nokia’s phone assets was defensive, and offensive for Microsoft; it regains control, and can use its greater financial resources to push the line harder than Nokia could have.
According to the EU’s press release, the deal does not “raise any competition concerns, in particular because there are only modest overlaps between the parties’ activities and the links between Microsoft’s mobile operating systems, mobile applications and enterprise mail server software with Nokia’s smart mobile devices are unlikely to lead to competitors being shut out from the market.”
That the deal continues apace means that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will land at Microsoft, where he is considered a contender for its CEO role.
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