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Microsoft In Talks To Buy Nokia's Smartphone Division?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-much-were-you-asking? dept.

Microsoft 192

lightbox32 writes "Analyst Eldar Murtazin announced today that Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was soon to meet his Nokia counterpart Stephen Elop to finalize the purchase of Nokia's smartphone division, which would see patents, staff, and some plants transferred to Microsoft, for an undisclosed price. From the article: '“Steve Ballmer, Andy Lees and Stephen Elop and Kai Ostamo will meet in Las Vegas to finalize agreement about Nokia smartphone unit. Bye Nokia,” he tweeted on Thursday morning."

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This story is a lie (5, Informative)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605134)

Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division several hours ago. Why is this rumor still echoed on slashdot?

Re:This story is a lie (5, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605152)

Re:This story is a lie (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605312)

As they stepped out of a potential RIM deal, MS knows this is their only option. When the opposition is leveraging iphones and androids, you can either pay to play or pray you stay.

Re:This story is a lie (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606374)

I agree. I think MS has finally realized that tablet/phone is where things are going (at least for large volume consumer stuff). Win 8 needs to be a success on things smaller than a PC to really win the "we have a common feel across the form factor" kind of argument. RIM actually would have been a great deal for them: both are already trusted/dominant in their respective areas for business customers. Canada and Waterloo in particular where RIM is based has always been a great source for MS to recruit, could suck techies into Canada much easier than they could get HB-1's for the US etc. All around I think it would have been the better deal for them.

Re:This story is a lie (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606400)

Sorry I was thinking more of a acquisition type of scenario the RIM rumors were more of a software on RIM devices which I don't think is anywhere near as nice as an outright purchase for MS.

Re:This story is a lie (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605468)

The suggestion that Nokia will sell off their crown jewels to Redmond has been rebuffed before, and even had an impact on the markets last year, but despite the Finns repeated denials, the rumour simply won't go away.

Maybe their URL has something to do with the rumors not dying: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/05/nokia-will-sell-crown-jewels-to-microsoft/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:This story is a lie (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606744)

Maybe they are just being sly. M$ won't be buying Nokia's crown jewels, they will be buying Nokia lock, stock and barrel.

Photoshopped (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605160)

This story has been photoshopped. You can tell by the pixels and the smoke coming out of the track.

Re:This story is a lie (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605162)

Because companies deny everything up until it happens.

Re:This story is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605238)

Troll? Seriously?

Re:This story is a lie (0, Offtopic)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605284)

Why is he a troll? Attack the argument, not the person

Re:This story is a lie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605856)

Wow, you got modded up for saying that? I am the AC above, and what I did was question the troll moderation (I was thinking the "?" would make it clear, but apparently I was mistaken). Just to be clear, I did not moderate or call out the GP as troll, but I just question the troll moderation.

Re:This story is a lie (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605164)

Because that's what Slashdot is for. A lie is set forth and geeks who think they know stuff yammer on about it for about 500 comments. Stories like this are practically a slashdot lubricant.

Re:This story is a lie (3, Funny)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606424)

I thought slashdot lubricant was caffeinated Astro Glide.

Re:This story is a lie (5, Insightful)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605224)

They will keep denying that rumor... If they accept it, it will be a huge PR disaster...

Re:This story is a lie (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605316)

Because no company has ever denied something right up until it happened, right?

Nokia denying it means absolutely nothing.

Re:This story is a lie (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605556)

Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division several hours ago. Why is this rumor still echoed on slashdot?

Because it gets ad views. Duh.

Re:This story is a lie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605772)

When a blatant shill like Insightin140Bytes^H^H^H^H InterestingFellow^H^H^H^H DCTech comes out against a rumor, you know it's true!

Re:This story is a lie (3, Insightful)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606146)

because the /. staff don't check the stories?

Besides, this is the kind of thing which i would expect to see 1st of April, not anytime else.

Nokia's business has, and always has been, to advance mobile phone technologies through hardware innovation. Selling their smart phone business would be bit like selling your left arm.

Re:This story is a lie (4, Insightful)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606530)

Nokia's business has, and always has been, to advance mobile phone technologies through hardware innovation. Selling their smart phone business would be bit like selling your left arm.

More like a selling the head and I wouldn't be surprised if they really do it.
Stephen Elop did the *great* job as a M$ mole and he gave Nokia on a silver platter. Smartphones will be rebranded as M$ phones and Nokia brand will be sold to some Chinese manufacturer.

Re:This story is a lie (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38606992)

You're out of touch with reality [wikimedia.org] .

Re:This story is a lie (4, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606786)

Nokia already said that they won't sell their smartphone division several hours ago...

Why would Microsoft buy it when they already got it for free?

Thats a great way to gain marketshare (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605166)

Go tell your OEMs that you are not a competitor? Gee, that will really make them want to leave Android for Windows Phone Mango. lol

Go look up OS/2 would be my advice. OS/2 beat the crap out of Windows 3.1 and even Windows 95. No OEM would touch it as IBM was a competitor.

Apple? (3, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605186)

They really do want to be Apple don't they. :)
First the Microsoft stores, emulating (Badly) the Apple stores.
Now jumping into the phone business.
At least it is entertaining to watch.

Re:Apple? (5, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605228)

Microsoft was in the phone business before Apple, albeit only from the software side. Microsoft missed some huge, huge opportunities in that arena. If only they could've ditched the stylus-centric GUI design (ie itty bitty tiny controls and no gestures) they could've held at least some ground with Windows Mobile.

Re:Apple? (5, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605340)

> If only they could've ditched the stylus-centric GUI design (ie itty bitty tiny controls and no gestures)

That's right on the money, (from an ergonomic standpoint, how did anyone ever think a "start" button an eighth of an inch wide was a good idea?? [1]) although I'm not sure it's a complete explanation. My Windows 6 phone would fail periodically with a popup something like "the audio driver has encountered an unexpected error and will now terminate". If you didn't catch it when it happened and reboot the phone, on the next call the phone wouldn't ring.

Let's savor that for a moment.

The phone wouldn't RING!!

The second or third time I failed to get a call while on-call, due to the audio driver malfunctioning, I had to dump the phone or risk losing my job.

As a result, I will never, ever, EVER have another Windows phone. In my line of work it's just too risky to have a phone that may at some random time decline to RING.

Ok, so I could be the only one to ever have that problem or problems like it, but if not, Windows 7 has a huge uphill battle to gain acceptance in the business market.

[1] From a code reuse standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

Re:Apple? (1)

abelb (1365345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605456)

> how did anyone ever think a "start" button an eighth of an inch wide was a good idea??

I suspect this is what happens when sales staff make design decisions. I can imagine Balmer at the meeting now: "Familiarity, familiarity, FAMILIARITY, FAMILIARITY..."

Re:Apple? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605498)

You are definitely not the only person to have that happen to them; I had the exact same issue, and made the exact same decision, including the promise to never buy a Windows Mobile product again.

I also had the fun error that my Windows phone would randomly end calls. I would be happily chatting away and the phone would just hang up. I would joke "Windows has found your conversation tiresome and no longer wishes to continue," (said in a German accent).

Try explaining to your boss why you almost never pick up when he calls, and then when he does call you, you hang up on him.

Windows Mobile was far and away the worst phone experience I have ever had, and it soured me on Windows phone products forever.

Re:Apple? (4, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605700)

> Try explaining to your boss why you almost never pick up when he calls, and then when he does call you, you hang up on him.

The very last call I (didn't) receive was from my boss, strategic update during a production outage. And I missed it. The next business day, I put in an order for a Blackberry Bold. My boss couldn't approve it fast enough. (He needs me to be connected.)

Re:Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605836)

You: Hey master, my leash is broken, can you get me a working one?
Boss: sure thing!
 

Re:Apple? (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605986)

Um, you need to look up "on-call". But, no, wait. I see the misunderstanding. I get *paid* to be on-call. Does that make more sense? Or is this some ninety nine percenter thing I don't understand?

Re:Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38606150)

Being paid to be on a leash doesn't mean you still aren't on a leash. Especially since I doubt your boss would have accepted you saying no to being on-call.

Re:Apple? (3, Informative)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606486)

Yes because being on call might be part of the job description. If you are getting 2X or more times a normal salary and have specialized skills your employer isn't likely to keep a bunch of spare "yous' around for after hours support. You're special which means in the ways you are special you are expected to "make it go" whenever it is needed. That is part of the reason for the good salary: you have more responsibility. Oh and you can add that on call is a very nice leash much preferable to actually having to sit at a desk at 10pm "just in case". Getting paid beer money to watch Star Trek reruns and than (at least anywhere I've worked) getting overtime pay if you actually get called is a pretty sweet deal.

Re:Apple? (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38607034)

Yep, that's it, pretty much exactly.

So what is it with kids these days? What happened to, you know, working for for a living? It seems like an entire generation wants ipods handed to them for nuthin.

Re:Apple? (1)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605922)

George Lucas (Verb) Lucasing, Lucased (a) The act of committing graphics overkill.

Interesting Sig... I thought it would have meant taking a deeply satisfying shit all over a well respected thing that has your own name on it, but I guess I'd be wrong....

Re:Apple? (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605998)

That works for me as definition number two.

Re:Apple? (0)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606460)

Not saying MS is completely blameless here but if you both were having audio driver issues perhaps it isn't MS's fault (assuming MS didn't write the audio driver). Windows crashing because of a driver isn't MSs fault: might argue about the driver model of the OS etc, but bottom line is if the driver wasn't buggy they wouldn't be likely to crash.

Re:Apple? (1)

oneblokeinoz (2520668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605718)

Then don't get an iPhone either.

I've lost count of the number of times I've been holding it in my hand and getting an automated SMS that says: Missed Call please check voice mail.

(Carrier: Optus in Australia)

Re:Apple? (2)

superpete (867509) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605884)

With Optus two years with the same issue on the iPhone. Also huge issues with dropped calls, or calls which I could here rining on my end but would not go through on the other. I switched to Telstra and the issues disappeared.

Re:Apple? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606226)

Don't get any phone on Vodafone or any of their resellers either (in Australia, I hear they are OK overseas). Doesn't matter what phone you have you will lose signal at the drop of a hat.

Re:Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605740)

Summary of the following rant: Java is shit, people forgot how to design phones.

My Android's failed to ring once as well, and Google seems to be able to find some other people with problems that are similar. It's an HTC Wildfire. Also, if you aren't careful right after you take a call, you might end the call with your cheek. And if you actually want to end a call, it takes at least one second for the phone to follow your commands after you press "End call". Furthermore, it seems to be doing stuff in the background right after a call arrives at your phone, cause the (MP3) ringtone skips sometimes. Moreover, the vibration motor is far too weak. If you don't wear skin-tight jeans, you have no chance of feeling it vibrating.
All of the above problems had been solved for a long time, and then some Java fan decided to write a fucking Phone operating system in fucking JAVA! We don't need no free()! In fact, the phone company's paying us for any kind of lag that causes you to appear to be on the phone for a longer time than you actually are. We don't need no vibration! After all, missed calls mean that the person who's calling gets to hear your mailbox and pays money for the privilege.
What I don't get when you absolutely insist on having your UI and everything in Java, is why there aren't any smartphones or even any plans for smartphones that contain a processor that executes Java natively. Surely we've had enough time go away by now for someone to design a low-power one?

Now, the grandparent apparently thinks that touchscreens that don't work with styli were a good idea. Let me tell you something: I beg to differ. Input precision goes down by a factor of 20 or so. Touching screens causes ugly fingerprints all over it, and is extremely unergonomic. Now, Swipe and stuff seems decent (probably not usable for languages that don't use Latin characters though), but it really boggles the mind that they didn't have anything but an on-screen keyboard at first. And yeah, the oh-so-wonderful gestures: zooming in and zooming out. Cause that's something you do so often, right.
Disclaimer: I play the piano so I would assume that my fingers are of at least average dexterity, and thinner.

I still love some of the apps I've got on my smartphone. Too bad my fingers will fall off someday because of them.

Re:Apple? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606256)

Cause that's something you do so often, right.

When trying to browse the web on a small screen it certainly is. Zoom out to see the whole page, zoom in to actually read the damn thing.

Re:Apple? (2)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605766)

What you all forget is exactly how long ago Microsoft entered the PDA/Smartphone Market.

Back then, the screen technology was not advanced enough to handle finger-touches and gestures. They had to us a stylus in order to get accurate "clicks".

Re:Apple? (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606062)

> Back then, the screen technology was not advanced enough to handle finger-touches and gestures. They had to us a stylus in order to get accurate "clicks".

Yep, true, but Palm was in that market even earlier, with a single touch, stylus-based OS that was actually useful. In fact, look at the original Palm Pilot, and you will see vague prehistoric design cues that I would argue were later used in iOS and Android. Fewer wipe gestures for reasons you stated, but the same page-o-icons idea, with no hint of "walking menus" to get to your application. (Moreover, the various aftermarket launchers that supported tabs are interestingly like the multiple pages of iOS and Android.) And this was in 1997!

And Microsoft went with a "Start" button. Because... well, who knows? Not because of ergonomics. Because it looked more like Winders, or because they could reuse GUI code (unlikely on early revisions) or because of a misunderstanding of customers' need to see the exact same interface on every platform, no matter how impractical.

Re:Apple? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606392)

Design cues from palm? iOS is basically the Lotus Notes 1.0 UI with prettier graphics.

Re:Apple? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606828)

> how did anyone ever think a "start" button an eighth of an inch wide was a good idea??

This is the same company that, had they purchased Macromedia instead of allowing Adobe to do it, would have completely and utterly destroyed Dreamweaver within 2 versions by trying to make it work the same way as Microsoft Office, even if doing so completely borked it for the expert users whose professional lives revolved around it. Kind of like they did with FrontPage.

Microsoft just has this obsession with trying to staple "uniform" user interfaces across disparate apps and platforms. Hell, look at how eager they are to completely destroy windows 8 for the sake of making it tablet-friendly.

The sad thing is, Windows Mobile really wasn't that bad, as long as you viewed your phone as a pocket laptop instead of a device for making and receiving voice calls. WinMo phones were utterly dysfunctional out of the box, but if you spent a month or two tweaking it, you could end up with a really sweet phone that blew everything else available circa 2004-2007 away. They did, however, generally suck for making voice calls... especially when manufacturers like HTC got brilliant ideas, like eliminating the "menu" and "ok" hardkeys, then creating phones like the Touch that could activate in your pocket when you received an incoming call or text message, then have Bad Random Things Happen afterward as things on the screen were randomly touched.

Re:Apple? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38607070)

> This is the same company that, had they purchased Macromedia instead of allowing Adobe to do it, would have completely and utterly destroyed Dreamweaver within 2 versions by trying to make it work the same way as Microsoft Office

Microsoft used to have something called Frontpage. It was a gooey web making tool that produced the worst HTML code I've ever seen in my entire life. I shouldn't complain too much, because I made a fairly good living in '04 and '05 fixing sites created with Frontpage. Hint: AWK is your friend. That doesn't invalidate your point -- far from it. I expect they'd make Dreamweaver work like, say, Word, and then discontinue it when nobody used it.

Re:Apple? (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38607174)

You know what the saddest thing is? This still happens - on Android. Random reboots also aren't unheard of... okay, my old WinMo6 phone was much worse in these respects (happens once in a blue moon on Android), but these problems are not as long gone as we should like them to be.

Haven't used WinPhone7 or iOS long enough to see it happen there though... and don't get me wrong - I love Android, and there is no alternative, because it allows me to do whatever the **** I want - but there *are* still mission-critical bugs in the core Android system. They're sporadic, difficult to reproduce and occur seldomly, but they're there.

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38606714)

Yeah that wouldnt have worked for the time. The touch screens only recently got good enough. Its 1998 you are creating a smart phone. Where do you buy a multitouch screen that doesnt cost a bazillion dollars and is only in some lab somewhere. So your option is a single touch capacitive screen. It works crapy with fingers. So you put a stylus on it...

Re:Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605244)

Microsoft was in the phone business long before apple. While they don't currently make phone hardware, they don't currently make desktop or laptop hardware either.

Re:Apple? (1)

leoplan2 (2064520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605254)

The question is, will they succeed?

Re:Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605332)

I think Google more than Apple. Google just bought Motorola so they can give a seamless Android experience. Microsoft yells "me too" and buys Nokia.

They've been trying to copy Google for almost 10 years now with not much success but billions of dollars in the red.

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605610)

You forgot the Zune.
(Yeah, I know, I'm trying to forget it too.)

Re:Apple? (4, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605744)

They really do want to be Apple don't they. :)

First the Microsoft stores, emulating (Badly) the Apple stores.

Now jumping into the phone business.

At least it is entertaining to watch.

Nah Microsoft wants to be everything, not just Apple. It became clear to me once I saw that in SharePoint there is a button "I Like It". (And as usual it's big, annoyingly friendly and takes a lot of screen real estate).

Antitrust? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605248)

Given the DOJ and EU battles with Microsoft, surely something like this would undergo some serious review.

Re:Antitrust? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605370)

why? They have no monopoly in the phone business, in fact they have the exact opposite, there is likely to be zero problem with such a purchase. However the story is all FUD anyway, it doesn't make sense from either Microsoft's or Nokia's perspective for such a sale

Qt (4, Insightful)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605304)

Here's hoping such a deal (if it's not just a rumor and actually goes through) doesn't touch Qt. I was happy when Nokia bought it, but I really, really don't want MS to get control over Qt.

I guess it comes down to corporate structure. Is Qt part of the smartphone division? The two are closely related (and it's why Nokia bought Qt to begin with), so I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Qt (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605404)

Nokia cut Qt mostly loose when sent Maemo to the rubbish bin.

Maybe some real Trolls (from Trolltech) can comment on the current level of autonomy.

If something evil happened to the Qt ownership, the code could still be forked, couldn't it?

Re:Qt (4, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605420)

The agreement still stands, and since it's LGPL you could fork from the last LGPL version and still use it in commercial projects. Of course, losing corporate support would be crippling to no small extent, which is one reason the Qt people have been working overtime to separate Qt from Nokia as much as they can short of being spun off.

Meeting transcript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605306)

Nokia: Look guys, it appears Windows Phone is sinking and we need to ditch it if we want to keep selling phones.
Microsoft: OK, we need phones which run our software so we'll just buy your phones.

Re:Meeting transcript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38606096)

Microsoft: So we're on plan then?

Nokia: Yes Master.

Not plausible (5, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605330)

Is there any point in posting an unsubstantiated rumour by someone who has previously claimed that the deal was happening back in May and that Nokia's phone division would be sold by the end of 2011 [businessinsider.com] ? Nokia is predominantly a phone maker, and I really can't see them wanting to sell the main business of their company to anyone. What would be left of the company?

And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones? And Nokia have the connections with the carriers that is required to get the phones into the retail system. Given the way Windows phones haven't really been pushed by the carriers, I would think that they need the sales team at Nokia. Buying the patents and manufacturing plants only solves part of the problem - and that assumes that there is a problem in the first place that requires the purchase.

Finally, I don't think the other phone companies like HTC, LG, and Samsung would feel happy about Microsoft moving into their territory. This sale would only cause friction with those companies, is an expensive risk, and provides no benefit considering that Nokia are already committed to selling Microsoft's platform now.

Re:Not plausible (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605374)

Is there any point in posting an unsubstantiated rumour by someone who has previously claimed that the deal was happening back in May and that Nokia's phone division would be sold by the end of 2011?

Eh, if it happens in the next couple months he's not far off in corporate-acquisition-time. He nailed the forced move of Nokia to Windows Phone back months before it happened and people said the same things about him then.

Nokia is predominantly a phone maker, and I really can't see them wanting to sell the main business of their company to anyone. What would be left of the company?

Nothing, but I suspect that Microsoft is, by far, the party with the most power here. They have a friendly CEO in charge and a pliable board, willing to do as they say. What would be left? A shell of a company, loaded down with restrictions that would bar them from entering the smartphone space and, for spite, from ever using the patents they sell with Linux.

And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones? And Nokia have the connections with the carriers that is required to get the phones into the retail system. Given the way Windows phones haven't really been pushed by the carriers, I would think that they need the sales team at Nokia. Buying the patents and manufacturing plants only solves part of the problem - and that assumes that there is a problem in the first place that requires the purchase.

If they do it, I imagine they could always work out a "discount" of some sort. But most importantly, they have someone who can part the company out to get MS the best deal, rather than having to buy the whole company and all the stuff they don't want (dumbphones, symbian, the N9/Maemo legacy.) Microsoft would probably redouble their efforts to be like Apple, which is why they'd probably also take all the sales teams as well.

Finally, I don't think the other phone companies like HTC, LG, and Samsung would feel happy about Microsoft moving into their territory. This sale would only cause friction with those companies, is an expensive risk, and provides no benefit considering that Nokia are already committed to selling Microsoft's platform now.

If I were going to fling (more) barbs in Microsoft's direction, I expect they'd leverage the patents they have to raise the "price" of Android even further above Windows Phone 7, and constrain the options of other vendors so that they have no choice but to compete directly with MS or pay them a ton of cash.

Re:Not plausible (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605608)

He nailed the forced move of Nokia to Windows Phone back months before it happened and people said the same things about him then.

(Forced move?) Did he really do the same thing then: make the same prediction six months apart?

Nothing, but I suspect that Microsoft is, by far, the party with the most power here.

I don't think so. Microsoft's phone OS has been flatlining, and without Nokia on board then they have no hope of resurrecting the platform. Microsoft needs Nokia more than Nokia needs Microsoft.

What would be left? A shell of a company, loaded down with restrictions that would bar them from entering the smartphone space and, for spite, from ever using the patents they sell with Linux.

Do you really think the shareholders of Nokia would stand for a deal that prevents the world's largest phone company from taking part of the most lucrative part of the mobile/cell phone market? I don't think that this would be approved by the shareholders, and if it went ahead without any vote by them then it would result in lawsuits against the board members.

If I were going to fling (more) barbs in Microsoft's direction, I expect they'd leverage the patents they have to raise the "price" of Android even further above Windows Phone 7, and constrain the options of other vendors so that they have no choice but to compete directly with MS or pay them a ton of cash.

But if Microsoft has a subservient board at Nokia, then surely they could get them to go after Android to reduce the chance of anti-trust allegations. If this was the real goal of Microsoft then they would not need to spend US$19 billion to do it.

Re:Not plausible (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606518)

Microsoft needs Nokia more than Nokia needs Microsoft.

This is not true. Microsoft spins off many billions of profit each year, mainly from Windows and Office. They could dump 5 billion a year into mobile just to keep the dream alive. They pour something like 2 billion a year just into Bing and their other online efforts. They could keep this up forever. I don't think doing so is going to do them any good, but they can.

Sendo had the same problem. It didn't work out well for them. [theregister.co.uk]

While doing research for this comment (sad but true, I do research for /. comments as if I were an actual credible analyst) I went to look at Nokia's financial statements to see how long they could hold out with a failing smartphone business. What I found is a grand surprise: I find that Nokia [google.com] has been hugely bulking up the cash portion of their balance sheet [zacks.com] . They now have $16B cash and equivalents - a level they haven't seen since 2008 when their market cap was 3x what it is now (Currently $20B), and $4B more cash than they had a year ago. The annual run rate on last quarter's profits is $10B. That means less cash you could buy the Nokia business for $4B net of cash - patents, employees, hardware, manufacturing, real estate, the whole magilla. This brings the price of Nokia's earnings as a business (about $10B/year) less cash to about 40 cents. For 40 cents a buyer could buy $1/yr of profits. $1 buys what the company is accumulating in cash each year. That's a screaming deal - and with that much cash to leverage lots of the '80's LBO kings could get financing on that deal. It's a hell of a lot better deal than $8B for Skype, who never made any profits ever.

After reflecting on the above paragraph, TFA becomes plausible. Somebody's probably buying Nokia because at this price it's like buying a money tree at the price of five months' harvest. I see that you can buy a call option with a 7/21/2012 strike price of $6 for $.71, or the in-the-money $5 call for $1.14. Both of these look like a good deal to me, and I'd probably take the in-the-money one in case there was no bidding war. Naturally takeovers usually buy a company at a premium over the day's stock price.

I am not an investment advisor - especially not yours. I don't hold a position in any of these companies. This is just for fun.

If Google can buy Moto Mobi and get away with it, why can't Microsoft buy Nokia - especially when it's such a screaming deal?

Despite what the market thinks of Elop's plans (and my own prognostications) his austerity program does seem to be bearing fruit even if his strategic choices seem to be lacking.

Re:Not plausible (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606914)

That's interesting. You need a girlfriend. Or a hobby.

But lots of companies are bulking up on cash these days, not much else to do. Nobody seems to want to spend it - they can't figure out how to actually use it. So they keep it for a while until the economy starts to move again.

Re:Not plausible (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38607128)

I have a wife and five kids - and we're starting on grandkids now. I live in my own house that I almost own free and clear, and am not posting from my mom's basement subsisting on Hot Pockets so your insult falls flat. This is my hobby. Maybe I'm too much into it but everybody's got their thing and this is mine. What you enjoy doing with your idle time isn't my business, and what I do with mine isn't yours. To me this is more fun than World of Warcraft or Star Trek Online, or whatever it is that trips your trigger.

The market is a volatile place, full of uncertainties. You can find a broker who might assure you he can find you regular growth after dividends, maybe 3-4%. Some will go five, but they won't put in writing. More than that and you're probably dealing with Bernie Madoff or somebody like him. Many 401K funds actually lose money as the brokers in charge of them churn investments to garner transaction revenues. If you work your own money and keep an eye out you can do better usually - in fact, a monkey with a dartboard can because the monkey doesn't have a motive at odds with your goals.

Other companies accrue cash, it's true. To accrue cash that's 80% of your market capitalization though, that's an exceptional achievement and worthy of notice. Apple, a company much criticized for hoarding cash, had $81B in cash and marketable securities [seekingalpha.com] at 9/11, or something like 24% of their market capitalization at that time. 24% is not a threat because you can't do a leveraged buyout with 24% down. 80% though? That's a whole other story. Can you think of anything your bank wouldn't give you a loan for with 80% down?

Re:Not plausible (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606182)

This puts a huge hole in the "'your' flavor linux" side, I wonder who will fill it.

Re:Not plausible (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606504)

I expect him to be partially correct. In a way, Nokia has already "sold" their smartphone division to Microsoft, so I don't expect Microsoft to unnecessarily purchase all of the overhead of actually manufacturing a phone.

More likely, a patent licensing agreement is going to come out of this along with revenue sharing agreements and some marketing agreements. Microsoft is probably going to buy the rights to market Nokia smartphones in North America or some such.

Considering Nokia's CEO is sympathetic to Microsoft's cause, Nokia might outright sell their vast warchest of wireless and hardware patents to Microsoft for trolling.

Re:Not plausible (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605412)

They might just want to buy the patents and pull an Apple and try and use patents to block competitors imports. If you can't earn a monopoly, force one!

Re:Not plausible (3, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605418)

If this does happen and anyone is surprised by it since Elop took over, they're idiots.

The Nokia/WP7 partnership has already done damage to Nokia. MS knows (or or expected) that WP7 wouldn't gain traction, and that they'd have to buy a handset maker to make it competitive. Now that Nokia has submitted to their doom, MS can become an OEM for almost peanuts. I'm surprised that Ballmer didn't let Nokia bleed out longer.

The people within Nokia that have carrier relationships would be kept on and assimilated to doing sales the Microsoft way. Redmond may have their flaws, but sales really isn't one of them... they need to get their foot further in the door with the carriers.

Plus, none of the other OEMS really screamed when Google bought Motorola Mobility.

Re:Not plausible (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605742)

If this does happen and anyone is surprised by it since Elop took over, they're idiots.

And if it doesn't happen, then what are they?

The Nokia/WP7 partnership has already done damage to Nokia

The damage to Nokia started long before the Windows Phone deal. The Symbian OS had stagnated, and while it was successful it was not famous like iOS or Android. (I still think my old Symbian phone was better than my iPhone in a lot of respects like multitasking and web browser.)

But Nokia lacked direction the with Maemo which got merged with Intel's Moblin to become MeeGo. But their efforts with MeeGo went virtually unpublicised and never sold well. The only reason I got an iPhone was because I could not buy the MeeGo phone I wanted in my country. By the time it was released here, all the carriers were pushing iPhones so it was too late to get a foot hold.

The people within Nokia that have carrier relationships would be kept on and assimilated to doing sales the Microsoft way. Redmond may have their flaws, but sales really isn't one of them.

Really? How many Windows Phones do you see getting sold? I think that Microsoft does have a problem in this respect. And if Nokia sells their sales team too then it is an even worse deal for them. They would lose manufacturing facilities, sales division, and access to the lucrative smart phone market. What would they do then - sell inflatable pools?

Plus, none of the other OEMS really screamed when Google bought Motorola Mobility.

Any screaming would have been behind closed doors.

Re:Not plausible (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605782)

But Nokia lacked direction the with Maemo which got merged with Intel's Moblin to become MeeGo.

They produced the N9, which was "MeeGo compatible" and based on Maemo. It has apparently sold quite well and met with extremely favorable reviews. They had a direction and had to fight to get where they did due to the Symbian camps in the company interfering. Had that problem been solved and Maemo/MeeGo been pushed to the forefront instead of WP7, I doubt that Nokia's ability to compete would have been questioned. Problem is that would take a CEO with a vested interest in Nokia's success and independence and I don't believe Elop ever had that.

Re:Not plausible (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606668)

Dracos wrote "If this does happen and anyone is surprised by it since Elop took over, they're idiots."

I agree. How do Nokia's actions make sense if this in NOT true?

Re:Not plausible (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606886)

Plus, none of the other OEMS really screamed when Google bought Motorola Mobility.

Because of the open nature of Android. Motorola was already a competitor, Google buying them didn't change anything as Google still needs other OEM's.

Now the likes of HTC and Samsung aren't going to complain if M$ buys out Nokia because the only one not doing a completely half arsed effort on WP7 is Nokia. HTC's bread is buttered by Android. Samsungs bread is buttered by Android and non-smartphones. They fear ZTE, Huawei and Meizu more then MicroNokia because WP7 is a non-starter.

Re:Not plausible (5, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605422)

On the first part, I would have no trouble believing that Nokia would sell themselves completely to MS. I wouldn't think selling their phones separately would ever happen, but Nokia is pretty well going to do anything that MS asks of them at this point unless their leadership changes away from the MS cronies in place now.

Which makes this story even less plausible, why would MS buy the cow while they get the milk for free? In Nokia they have a partner that is pretty well willing to bet their whole business on MS and do exactly what MS would have them do if they owned them, without the complications of an acquisition, particularly in fairly MS-hostile territory of EU.

In terms of other manufacturers being 'happy' with MS, I think the handset makers are likely not particularly pleased with how the WP7 ecosystem is set up anyway. By design, the hardware manufacturers are relegated pretty much to producing the exact same equipment with the same exact software, chips and screens as their competitors. There is pretty much zero room in the WP7 ecosystem for any differentiation, making it pretty much a pure commodity business with race-to-the-bottom margins. I think MS has most of them scared enough to at least participate by making a few handsets to hedge their bets in case of an Android collapse, but there seems to be pretty much no enthusiasm among manufacturers or carriers with MS and Nokia the only ones actively really *pushing* the platform.

Re:Not plausible (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605654)

making it pretty much a pure commodity business with race-to-the-bottom margins

That pretty much describes most businesses. Including computers, cars, and crops.

Re:Not plausible (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38607052)

right, and lots of big companies fled, or are fleeing the hardware production business in computers, most of the car makers nearly went bankrupt, had massive consolidation or are in part owned by the government (in germany), and crops are subsidized by the government to keep them in business.

As to MS- Nokia. I doubt it. If I was MS I'd be using a pile of money to persuade Nokia and RIM to produce better products, and fold RIM into WP8, as the business oriented product. RIM has thrown their lot in with a half hearted effort at doing Android, and it's going no where fast. I was at a presentation about 6 weeks ago where a RIM guy got up and was talking about BB world statistics and the people at my table were trying to suppress their laughter. But Nokia on its own will never own that market, and they're just a handset maker at this point.

I could see MS buying a huge chunk of Nokia's mobile software division. that's actually a good strategy. Nokia did a lot of really good, useful, innovative stuff, those people have skills, and brains, most of which nokia doesn't need or want to use anymore. It wouldn't hurt MS too bring those guys into the MS family so to speak.

Re:Not plausible (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606438)

And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones?

Why not? How many billions do you think Microsoft spent on its Xbox division before it became profitable? Remember that originally they were going up against the established behemoths of the videogames industry: Sony and Nintendo. There was no guarantee that Xbox would ever be successful. It was estimated at the time that MS was absorbing $1 to $2 billion of losses in the first year alone just on subsidising Xbox console sales. There have been increasing calls from investors for MS to either put its cash into expansion, or start paying dividends. This would be an expansion. Don't forget that Nokia's patents will have value - MS has already paid billions for a patent war chest elsewhere, maybe they want more? They might even be able to nail Android manufacturers with increased patent fees.

And Nokia have the connections with the carriers that is required to get the phones into the retail system.

Obviously not, or else Lumia sales would be higher than 0.17%.

HTC, LG, and Samsung would feel happy about Microsoft moving into their territory.

WP7 is selling terribly, and those manufacturers don't appear really committed since they are hedging their bets by selling Android devices - HTC and Samsung being two of the most popular Android brands. The fact that they are selling tens of millions of Android devices per annum and very few WP7 devices can't have failed to attract Microsoft's attention.

is an expensive risk, and provides no benefit considering that Nokia are already committed to selling Microsoft's platform now.

It's only expensive if they fail. The risk is there, but given that WP7 hasn't broken single digits of market share yet, and sales rate has actually been reported to be decreasing, they don't really seem to have very many options. Quitting on the smartphone market is unacceptable, struggling along with single digit market share is ridiculous, they need some new strategy to compete with iPhone and Android. And I think they still want to be a hardware/software company, so they would prefer to try and emulate Apple and its large profits than to give away the bulk of their software for free and rely on secondary income like Google. This is very similar to the Xbox model, which MS has already made successful - if, in an alternative universe, MS had only produced an Xbox OS for multiple manufacturers of hardware platforms to integrate, do you think it would have done as well? There is a synergy. Obviously the two markets are not the same, so MS may still fail now, but if Balmer thinks the Xbox model works, then why wouldn't he go for it?

$8.5 billion for Skype (4, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606510)

And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones?

Just to add to this point: Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype, a company that has never made a profit, and is not expected to any time soon. These kind of purchases are strategic, and aim to expand market share indirectly by forming synergies between different products; they don't have to be directly profitable in the short-term.

Re:Not plausible (2)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606940)

And would Microsoft really want to spend the claimed $19 billion [businessinsider.com] on a division that has yet to prove that anybody wants to buy one of their Windows phones?

The first thing that came to my mind was: Patents.

Of course it would depend on what patents there were to be had. Nokia has been around in the phone market (and others) for a long time... but $19b is still a sh*tload of money even for MS.

Just making it officially official. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605336)

This is old news. Nokia is already a wholly-owned subsidiary (others would simply say "a zombie") of Microsoft since it got infected with aggressive stage four Elopba.
And everybody knew, at that very moment, that they were dead, they just didn't know it themselves.

So now MS tries to make it official, while Nokia obviously still is in denial,
as everyone would who walks around with no head and the bones hanging out. ^^

It's a story from the old times. The bad times. The same story told with Netscape, Borland, Sun (nearly), plus a ton of other companies where it wasn't that obvious.
The story of the third E in EEE [wikipedia.org] .

It's interesting how the murdering only stopped from the time of their conviction to right after their probation officer left for good.

If MS were a human, they would lock him up forever as a preventative measure.

Next step: Look for what might be the flesh it will start to get hungry for.

P.S.: This would make a really good zombie movie.

But... (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605344)

I thought they already "bought" Nokia by having their cuckoo-CEO Stephen Elop installed as chief ramrod and bottle washer.

Could this mean that Microsoft isn't sure that Elop is going to stick around and that the board might get rid of him? Oh that would be fun to watch.

--
BMO

Re:But... (5, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605466)

It means he's done enough damage to the stock price to make it affordable. It amazes me that what they did is considered legal.

Re:But... (3, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606192)

Nokia lost 80% of their stock value high of ~40 bucks in Nov of 2007 to under 10 dollars in March of 2009 and it was riding in the low teens until Elop was announced as joining. Any :"damage" he has done was far less than Nokia was already doing to itself during the prior 3 years before Elop came along.

Resistance is Futile (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605356)

Still missing Borg Gates.

Billcutus?

Did I make this all up? (4, Funny)

Spykk (823586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605396)

Slashdot would be much more pleasant if all the headlines that end in question marks were removed.

QT? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605440)

If this were to happen, what about QT?

The phone division i don't think anyone cares about at this point. I didn't even know there still was one :). But we would NOT want QT to fall into the wrong hands.

But if this is BS like it seems to be.. then who cares.

Re:QT? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606202)

Since when did Apple sell QuickTime to Nokia?

Crap + Crap = ? (-1, Flamebait)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605662)

I live in a country where Nokia phones basically don't exist, but having traveled the world I've encountered them many times and across the board found them the worst phones ever. I was given a "top of the line" Nokia phone the last time I had work overseas (about 4 years ago) and it had about as much functionality as the Casio phone I had 12 years ago but the Nokia had a -smaller screen-, buttons you had to firmly smash to use, and almost no reasonable email composition capability. I honestly don't know about their Android phones as I've never seen one so perhaps someone could educate me as to weather or not they are equally worthless pieces of crap.

So, add WP7 - a system that could be replicated and exceeded by a simple set of Android front end extensions (case in point: http://iida.jp/ [iida.jp] ) to crappy hardware and we get what?

This doesn't make sense (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605666)

As the old saying goes - "Why buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free?"

which of nokia's competitors paid for this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605734)

to the author of this story, the editor that approved it, and the slashdot user that posted it here...

FUCK YOU.

but this was never the plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38605828)

no siree bob. we /never/ would have even /considered/ bribing the board to get our man appointed so he could run it into the ground, destroy all the value, so we can then buy at a bargain basement price. it never occurred to us.

(can i have my check now please?)

Re:but this was never the plan (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606206)

What value was their to destroy? Nokia had already destroyed more than 80% of their 5 year high stock value of ~$40/share down to under $10/share a year before Elop was even announced to join the company. You give him far too much credit in Nokia's implosion.

I'm not laughing... (3, Interesting)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38605878)

I'm not laughing.. but Microsoft is still a joke. First they pre-announce a super smart phone a year before it's said to be out and now they are trying to buy their way into the smartphone market from another company that can't compete with Apple. How many phones have they already tried to launch that all failed miserably? Yea.. good luck with that. I'm sure the next phone venture will be worth every penny.

Re:I'm not laughing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38606798)

Spending fat piles of cash on buying second rate competition only to lose a fight against first rate competition is what Microsoft does best and why it wanted to buy Yahoo. They don't seem to mind burning money to buy some transient market share in another market.

Nokia destroyed itself when it decided to go the Microsoft route. It's a classic case of the management getting out of touch with the real world.

What if they did? (3, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606076)

Nokia's strong point (or given their performance lately, least weak point) is very much in their mobile phone business. If you look at their latest quarterly earnings [nokia.com] , the net sale of mobile phones decreased (-14% from last) significantly less than their smart phones (-39% from last). On top of that, their smartphone sales dropped significantly in NA since last year, presumably because of the competition in the market and their lack of a real offering lately.

Furthermore, it's pretty clear (as in their only choice at the moment) that they will use Windows Phone as their only smartphone platform and are dropping any commitments to any alternatives they had on the shelf. There is a good chance they will make deep system changes in their ROMs to enhance the experience as well, further enveloping their relationship with them. I doubt they will commit to Android sometime down the line, since (a) Elop has obvious ties with MS and (b) it will be way more work for them to "Nokia"-ize the UI to make it appealing to people like every other manufacturer did.

So what if they sold that division to Microsoft? Their bread-and-butter won't change and won't be influenced by the move. Microsoft won't build any devices; if anything, they will have an easier hand in making sure the hardware gels perfectly with Windows Phone to make the experience as awesome as possible. Both companies would be better positioned to compete with Apple and Android since they will be able to use them as the "Nexus" of Windows Phone and, if they don't step on Nokia's toes, provide an awesome experience that neither company can match AND have manufacturer variety that gives people just enough choice to be appealing without being overwhelming. It's a win-win, though I'm probably being naive and overly simplistic.

I know the news is fake, but I'm really excited about this collaboration. I love Nokia and I think this will finally make them relevant again if they don't let Microsoft run the hardware design show too much. They already did the right thing by setting a tight hardware baseline; Nokia can handle the rest.

What would be the point? (2)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606084)

Even if this were true (I really have no idea if it is), what would Microsoft stand to gain? I mean, they already effectively control the rotting carcass of Nokia through their puppet Elop.

Re:What would be the point? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606532)

Maybe Elop is about to be fired or sued, or (not sure about laws in Finland but they can't be as executive-friendly as in US) charged with industrial sabotage or fraud?

Nokia Who's your daddy? (3, Interesting)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38606484)

They became M$'s bitch the moment they hired an ex-M$ CEO. The only surprise here is why did it take so long?
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