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Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the desperately-seeking-a-loophole dept.

Businesses 226

New submitter Snotboble_ writes "The government of India apparently thinks Nokia owes a lot of taxes. They originally told Nokia that the company owed around $340 million, but now reports suggest it could be an order of magnitude higher. Such a large liability would have consequences for Nokia's sale of its handset division to Microsoft. From the article: 'Nokia Corp.'s tax troubles in India worsened Tuesday as local authorities ratcheted up the amount of tax they say the Finnish company may owe to more than $3 billion. Nokia's battle to defend itself from the claims—one of the latest surprise tax bills slapped on big foreign companies in India—could affect its plans to sell its handset division to Microsoft Corp. as the phone company's factory in India is part of the $7 billion deal.'"

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corruption (5, Insightful)

BurgEnder (698732) | about a year ago | (#45656687)

nothing like a good 'ol shakedown by a government's tax authority

Re:corruption (0)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#45656699)

Does it count as racist if I say I am not surprised by this move from the Indian government?

Re:corruption (2, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#45656707)

Does it count as racist that I'm absolutely *shocked* a western company has been dodging taxes?

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656727)

You both are racist fucks.

Re:corruption (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45656793)

I'm not sure I like your tone.

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656827)

I raped. We raped. I impregnated. We impregnated. That bitch!

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656851)

You both are racist fucks! G-Gi-Giggity, aright!

Re:corruption (4, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45656943)

I'm not sure I like your tone.

You have a problem with his skin color?

Re:corruption (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45657085)

The color's fine, it's just too flabby.

Re: corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657047)

I don't believe you people!

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657619)

anti-racist is a code word for anti-white

Re:corruption (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656759)

Sounds like India wants to kill the sale of the handset division to Microsoft, driving Nokia stock even lower, then conveniently an India company will buy Nokia out. Sound Like India politics at its finest.

Re:corruption (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45656871)

The NSA is making it harder and harder and more difficult, too, for a pasting on of the tinfoil hat label. And then, like a moment of perfect clarity, someone like you posts something like this, and the universe gets a tiny bit less complicated.

Re:corruption (4, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year ago | (#45657081)

Sure sounds like it.

I know corporations are evil little demons when it comes to actually playing on a level playing field in regards to taxes though.

It can also just as easily be possible.... that Nokia have been dicks for years trying to get around the taxes and India has finally had enough of their shit. An opportune moment? Absolutely. Egregiously So.

Just playing devils advocate for India here, even considering the massive levels of corruption in their government.

The only difference between India and the US, is that US politicians are already sufficiently paid to look the other way on taxes. Way too many assholes with their hands in the cookie jar to stop that over a few measly billion.

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657493)

I've noticed one thing about all these cases - every time, Asian companies win, Euro and American companies (the originals) get screwed.
It feels like a master plan to rid humans of technology, since the only ones who actually know how to create it, and truly understand it, are the people who are not allowed to benefit from it.

Perhaps Tata wants to acquire Nokia (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656893)

Sounds like India wants to kill the sale of the handset division to Microsoft, driving Nokia stock even lower, then conveniently an India company will buy Nokia out. Sound Like India politics at its finest

Knowing India as I do, I will not be surprised at all if Tata emerges as the "Knight in the shining armor" rescuing Nokia from the grab of the "dirty Microsoft".

Re: corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657077)

sounds like you might b a dope.

Re:corruption (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#45656763)

Having worked for a company a decade ago, where the Indian government tried to blackmail them for "back taxes" I'm going to hazard out on a line that it's probably not on Nokia's end.

Re:corruption (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#45656985)

You don't need to go farther than California to find an example of the government blackmailing people for "back taxes" [businessweek.com] . Fortunately, this time, the tax-hungry government was stopped in its tracks. However who in India will oppose taxing of a faraway, rich company?

Re:corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656941)

Does it count as racist that I'm nearly 100% sure you take dicks up the ass?

Re:corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657109)

No. That's homophobic.

Of course not! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657435)

Does it count as racist that I'm shocked another Asian country is behaving like carnies and pikies to screw Western companies out of money?

If it's not the yellow Chinaman whining about Apple (even though their own companies are a million times worse. China has slave labor camps for fark sakes)
then it's the little brown man who wants more pie. I'm sure we Westerners can relocate our call centers to our own countries if we really wanted to, and relocate our manufacturing bases back out of China too. And don't even start on corruption. India is very corrupt and always was. China too. Look at Thailand now - that place is a joke. If anything, Western countries learned corruption from the East. Is it any wonder the East is rising and the world is getting more corrupt - I think not.. - and 3 billion in taxes sounds like complete BS. It's just Indian carneys doing what they do best.

Re:corruption (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45657963)

dodging taxes? 3.4 billion doesn't seem like that really. it sounds more like changing the tax to be 10x of what they were told it would be when they started doing business locally.

the thing is, they had no way on earth knowing the taxes beforehand. nobody has. so how are you supposed to price the hardware beforehand? even if you ask one state government then another sub-state government is going to claim otherwise since they want the money too.

it's just another example why big industry is staying officially out of india... and it's hurting india. another option for a company is to bribe everyone continously.

heck, ikea had to fight over the right to sell meatballs... good news for China, Korea, Taiwan & all though since why bother with spooling up factories in India when they can't make up their minds about the rules? unstability of rules is number one reason why developing countries have hard time attracting serious investment... so the jobs they then get are something that doesn't need long term investment(like hand assembly.).

Re:corruption (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656729)

Does it count as racist if I say I am not surprised by this move from the Indian government?

Probably not. I've had Indians explain that some businesses are hampered by the fact that traveling from one side of the city to the other crosses multiple local tax jurisdictions. Each wanting to collect a tax as goods move across the city.

Re:corruption (5, Interesting)

Ami Ganguli (921) | about a year ago | (#45657139)

It's not racist. The Indian government is pathetically corrupt. It's truly awful, and goes from the very bottom (police, petty local officials) right to the top. Finland, on the other hand, is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

I know nothing about this case, but I'm going to trust the Finns on this one until proven otherwise.

(Disclosure: I'm a half-Indian who's lived in Finland and done a lot of work with Nokia. I also have business interests in India.)

Re:corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657261)

Stop voting Congress and vote for the BJP.

Bring back the glory days when Vajpayee was in charge.

You are not a racist, you are ignorant... (3, Interesting)

bayankaran (446245) | about a year ago | (#45657467)

There are certain sectors in India which work well. The tax department being one of them. And surprisingly there are honest politicians, policemen, judges and so on. Broadly categorizing India and Indians as corrupt is a weak generalization.
What if I say every adult Finn is a closet xenophobe? Will you agree to this generalization?
Nokia may or may not be liable to this tax. The rule of the land you have to follow. There is a judicial process if you want to take that path to contest. Indians and Indian government need not be blamed if the sale of Nokia is held up due to this issue. It does not matter to us. Blame the consulting idiots who are advising Microsoft and Nokia in this sale for overlooking these issues.
And any comment regarding "India will lose, we will take our business elsewhere" is an empty threat. India is one billion strong - we have one of the biggest middle classes and the largest group of young population in this planet. Take your business elsewhere and you will lose. Ask yourself - where will you take your business - China? Russia? Yes, they are great places as far as I know.
Now, get off my lawn.

Bring back British Rule! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45658053)

There is no example of a former British colony that is better off as an "independent" country!

Re:corruption (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45658033)

They are still made that we killed pretty much all the buffalo, killed most of them and made the rest live in reservations.

Re:corruption (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45658047)

er still mad, not still made

Re:corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656761)

It almost certainly is, by all appearances the current Indian Congress is about to get stomped in elections coming up in just a few months. Part of the reason is mass corruption that's plagued India for years, and so they're desperate to do anything to make themselves look better. Including making themselves look tough on corruption.

Re:corruption (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656817)

MSFT can't afford to back out of the deal. They are in desperate need of Nokia's support for Windows Phone 8. Without the merger, any slim hope of gaining a foothold in mobile is dashed. MSFT would have to admit defeat. That won't happen, so MSFT will use its political US clout to hammer the price tag down to something "reasonable" and then write the check. Even if the price tag didn't go down, they would write the check. They can't afford to not do so. It would be suicide.

Re: corruption (2)

davidbrit2 (775091) | about a year ago | (#45657071)

And MS has had loads of practice throwing good money after bad, so what's another go at it here and there?

Re:corruption (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45657667)

Nonsense, there at least 6 manufacturers making windows phones. They don't need to manufacturer their own.
But if they want to, They could buy HTC out of petty cash.

Re: corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657127)

nothing like having yahoo message boards hijack your site eh lamedot?

Announce shutdown of factory ... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656705)

OK. If the new tax bill is 3B instead of 0.3B announce the closure of the factor and the layoff of its workers. This works in most other places around the world.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year ago | (#45656741)

They would still owe taxes. If Nokia ever has to do business in India, they better pay up (Nokia is one of the most popular brands in India btw)

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656789)

OK. If the new tax bill is 3B instead of 0.3B announce the closure of the factor and the layoff of its workers. This works in most other places around the world.

They would still owe taxes. If Nokia ever has to do business in India, they better pay up (Nokia is one of the most popular brands in India btw)

The point is that such an announcement would probably result in the tax bill returning to the original 0.3B.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (4, Interesting)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year ago | (#45656823)

The tax is on the value of the factory. The factory is obviously more valuable than the tax liability. Shutting down the factory would have to be a bluff, a very bad one at that.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656999)

The tax is on the value of the factory. The factory is obviously more valuable than the tax liability. Shutting down the factory would have to be a bluff, a very bad one at that.

An idle factory has little value. Look at various neighborhoods in Detroit.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#45657611)

Ok, so you have $10k in a bank account in Peru. You want to transfer the money to your account in the US. The bank says that before you're allowed to move the money you have to pay a $500 tax to the government. So, you propose to just tell the bank to close your account and keep the money?

Sure, Nokia could abandon a factory to save on a much smaller tax bill. They could even burn their own factory to the ground to prove a point. However, it isn't exactly a great business decision.

BTW, this is one of the reasons why companies didn't move all their stuff overseas a generation ago. It wasn't like the pay disparity was any less back then. If you want luxuries like reliable electricity, no hostage taking, no need to bribe the local politician, and no government shakedowns, well, sometimes you have to pay your workers a bit more to go along with that...

Nokia has little value for MSFT (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#45657119)

they should just call off the deal. The price has effectively gone up 50%.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657689)

Do they actually need that or any factories? Most bean counters won't even want to own their factory.

It is not like contract manufacturers like Foxconn is not making phones and electronics or anything. MS already have someone else churning xbox and other electronics for them in China.

Re:Announce shutdown of factory ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657991)

Microsoft didn't buy Nokia for their manufacturing.

Cut out the factory in the deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656745)

Settle on the value of the factory in India and amend the deal. Let India try to collect from empty shell of the company which only owns that factory.

Finally (5, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45656781)

Alas! The first mathematically perfect use of "an order of magnitude". Well done sir, well done.

Re:Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656841)

Begone, base-10 infidel!

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year ago | (#45657407)

poetic irony (n.)
Using the phrase "Alas!" instead of "At last!" in a pedantic celebration of correctness.

It's not *absolutely* crazy. (2)

Dputiger (561114) | about a year ago | (#45656837)

According to records, Nokia did about $4B in business in India in 2010 and 2011, but saw 2012 revenue fall about 23%. Still, that's a fairly large chunk of change. If their business from 2006 - 2010 was strong as well, I guess it's possible that the company owes about $3.4B in tax over that time period.

Thing is, they'd have had to be basically paying no tax at all to rack up that kind of bill. And since we can assume Nokia isn't stupid, it seems a lot more like a shakedown.

"Shakedown" looks very promising (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45656945)

... it seems a lot more like a shakedown ...

My company used to have 4 offices in India. Now we have only one.

Why ?

It's not that we don't like to do business with the Indians, it's the government that we can't deal with.

They are worse than the Mafioso.

They can turn the rules around overnight and demand the ransom, and they can do it in a totally legal manner.

The longer the Indian government behaving like this the worse their reputation gonna be - and the less the multinationals will be willing to invest in India.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657019)

If the rest of the American companies can deal with the Indian Government - and have done so for decades (Msft, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Fidelity, GM, Ford... and remember, every one of those firm also have to abide by US laws.

Then it is not the Government that you need to finger. It your company's incompetence - your planning was probably fcked up!

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#45657199)

They're just bribing the right officials to make things work smoothly for them. Nokia is apparently too honest for their own good.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45657709)

More likely they discovered early on that the best Indian Lawyers are a wise investment.
Never try to do business in a country without hiring a well connected local lawyer.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657311)

yeah there's totally no corruption in the indian government ::rollseyes::

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657025)

It is like they are trying to drive business to China.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45657521)

It is like they are trying to drive business to China.

Or they're being highly protectionist. I'm not sure what the angle would be here. Somebody mentioned Tata buying Nokia factories. The Indian government, for all their supposed openness to global trade, can be very protectionist. They got their initial start in programming when they basically kicked out IBM. Remember, it's ok for India, (or much worse) China, to be highly protectionist, but if the US puts a nickel tariff on something, or questions whether pet food should be poisoned, we're either evil or idiots for interfering with the wonders of free trade.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#45657623)

They can turn the rules around overnight and demand the ransom, and they can do it in a totally legal manner.

Sure, but that isn't saying much. The de facto definition of legal is whatever the prevailing government says it is, anywhere.

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#45657907)

You should teach them a lesson by moving the entire business unit to a a western country that exhibits none of those problems - like Venezuela!

Re:"Shakedown" looks very promising (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#45657977)

... it seems a lot more like a shakedown ...

My company used to have 4 offices in India. Now we have only one.

Why ?

It's not that we don't like to do business with the Indians, it's the government that we can't deal with.

They are worse than the Mafioso.

They can turn the rules around overnight and demand the ransom, and they can do it in a totally legal manner.

The longer the Indian government behaving like this the worse their reputation gonna be - and the less the multinationals will be willing to invest in India.

All third world nations are like this, same in the Philippines, Thailand, China or Dominican Republic.

It's not an Indian specific trait. However companies are still willing to do business with them because whilst they might ask for $3 million, they'll settle for $300,000.

As someone who's also had to deal with local politicians in places like this, it is a complete pain in the arse.

Why wait until now? (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about a year ago | (#45656859)

I know if someone owed me $3B, I'd be getting on top of that right away.

How could any entity allow any valid debit to escalate to such a large amount before calling it in?

Doesn't sound right to me...

Re:Why wait until now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656911)

Well thank you MISTER OBVIOUS.

the following is a series of lowercase text that slashdot wants me to include to ruin the joke.

Re:Why wait until now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656923)

Well, if that person was unable to pay you and then ended up with the ability to pay...

Welll. MS let the EU fine grow for about a year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656963)

before finally agreeing to pay.

Re:Why wait until now? (4, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about a year ago | (#45657107)

The same way the debt can increase from $300 million to $3 billion overnight. They think they can get it, and they're corrupt as hell.

Re:Why wait until now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657711)

Is that the same way that a company can increase or decrease in value by hundreds of millions of dollars overnight?

I think the point he's making is that it's not real money anyway.

OMG, HAHAHAHAHA! (0)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#45656937)

Hold on, let me catch my breath...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

Standard Operating Procedure for India. (5, Interesting)

lemur666 (313121) | about a year ago | (#45656977)

I worked at a large multinational that was slated to be acquired by a larger multinational.

Then, mid-way through the process came the "Oh no! India wants billions in 'back taxes' due to the sale!"

The solution was that rather than merging the two companies (triggering the giant tax bill), the Indian Development Center was kept as the last remnant of the old multinational and was now considered a "wholly owned subsidiary" of the buying multinational. Apparently the lack of a formal merger of just the portion of the company based out of India negated the tax bill somehow.

So

a) This is nothing more than the standard shakedown the government of India does whenever there's a merger of giants like this.
b) It can also be avoided by some rather facile legal trickery.

It strikes me as foolish both to make such huge claims of taxes owed when a merger like this occurs and to make those taxes so easy to avoid.

Re:Standard Operating Procedure for India. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657037)

Unfortunately, a number of people were almost certainly bribed to get that tax break. The FCPA could cause problems if MSFT did it.

Re:Standard Operating Procedure for India. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45657243)

the Indian Development Center was kept as the last remnant of the old multinational

Yeah, if Microsoft thinks that Nokia is worth $6.5B and India thinks Microsoft would owe it $3.5B in taxes, then Microsoft would have to conclude (assuming it can't be resolved for $2M in bribes) that abandoning the India unit (sell off the assets, let the debt go into bankruptcy) is the only financially feasible move. They can always move back in as a new business unit out of the Microsoft office next week.

Pulling the sheets off bedfellows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45656987)

Sounds like the India does not want a branch of the NSA called "Microsoft" obtaining marketshare to spy on its citizens/government with hardware backdoors.

Re:Pulling the sheets off bedfellows (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#45657355)

They just want to do it all themselves?

Nokia's getting what it deserved. (4, Insightful)

bstarrfield (761726) | about a year ago | (#45657001)

You want cheap labor?

You want little environmental regulation?

You want to hide from taxes in your home country?

Then build in the developing world. But don't cry when the developing world's lack of rules and regulations bite you in the ass with sudden "fees", "taxes", and other sundry costs. You chose to leave your home country to enhance shareholder profits. Surprise, the rest of the world doesn't have to operate according to your shareholder's profit motive.

Re:Nokia's getting what it deserved. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#45657971)

This. Internationals don't seem to mind operating under foreign laws when they get to avoid minimum wage, benefits, etc. Perhaps they should have considered the downside.

At least it's only taxes (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a year ago | (#45657011)

Imagine the world's surprise if India began charging the same hourly rates for it's workers as Western countries charge for theirs. So not only does it appear that Nokia used Indians for cheap labor, they're also trying to scam the government. The government of India is probably the most corrupt in the world (seriously, bribery is a part of the system there, but rather than call it "lobbying" they actually call it "bribery" and care not what anyone thinks about it), and are no one to fuck with.

Re:At least it's only taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657187)

While we're close to the top in terms of bribery, I think bangladesh would like a word with you.

what's the basis for the dispute? (4, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | about a year ago | (#45657069)

None of the articles explains the basis for the Indian government's claims. Does anyone know the basis for this dispute?

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657219)

I've been following this pretty closely, since I have a large position in NOK stock which I initiated about the time this news started percolating. You can get most of the story via following the links in the comment sections at seeking alpha (search for "nok", then look in news and alerts). This is not new, and has been going on for over a year, and is complete BS. NOK was in compliance with the laws when the work was done, then India changed the tax laws (and made the changes retroactive), and now expect NOK to pay. NOK is a trial balloon, and if they get away with it, there will be many other western corporations hit by this same 3rd-world silliness. A large oil company was also shaken down in a similar manner (forgot which); they settled for much less than $3.4B.

Even if India somehow wins here, I don't believe this won't affect NOK or MSFT at all. If this goes through, and NOK have to pay these taxes in India, which is highly unlikely, then they'll file an amendment on taxes they have paid to Finland for the amount they have to pay to India. The end result if India wins will be a massive loss in western investment for India, significant misery for the Indian people affected by the Western pullout, and a miniscule amount of additional tax revenue.

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657527)

You sound very diplomatic in your assessment. Smells more like WWIII to me. If we start appeasing these dog countries by letting them screw our tech companies out of money, then it sounds like war. On the other hand, what do companies like Nokia do for ordinary people in Finland?

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657543)

Massive loss of investment ? my foot !

Has the West ever bothered to give back anything that it has looted out from the East ? All it has ever been upto is stealing and corrupting everything - labour, natural resources, people's mindset and even its grand legacy !

India has always been rich in its resources - be it human, natural or spiritual.... Creating a desire against all the goodness we've always possessed is all that has been managed by the plundering West ! Now that the West is in the brink of a total collapse, we'll happily return back to our Roots...

We're praying that the Govt. play the spade and take NOK/M$FT for a ride !!

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (4, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45657731)

Finland invaded India?

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657807)

India has always been rich in its resources - be it human, natural or spiritual.... Creating a desire against all the goodness we've always possessed is all that has been managed by the plundering West ! Now that the West is in the brink of a total collapse, we'll happily return back to our Roots...

We're praying that the Govt. play the spade and take NOK/M$FT for a ride !!

LOL. Have fun living in dirt, burning widows alive, and praying to your millions of made up gods.

Re:what's the basis for the dispute? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#45657339)

"Hey, you've got a lot of money. GIve us some of it."

Goodbye India, Hello China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657091)

They should call their bluff. Both Microsoft and Nokia completely shut down operations, sales, call centers, factories and licensing in India and move it all to China. 3 Indians for one American, but 2 Chinese for the cost of one Indian after all.

Re:Goodbye India, Hello China! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45657439)

call centers

I doubt that one. It's much easier to find people who speak English well enough, and can even be trained to use American accents, in India than in China. As I understand it, the reason Chinese speakers find it so hard to learn English, and vice versa, is because the languages are so different. Are some of the Indian languages closer to English? Also many Indians, especially those with more educated parents, learn English from a very early age. There are even public (government) schools that are taught in English.

The language barriers are much less dealing with India than China. That helps with programming, engineering, R&D, etc. Manufacturing is a different story, but the ability of many Indians to speak English is a big advantage they have over China when it comes to these things.

Re:Goodbye India, Hello China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657499)

Call centres are already starting to pull out of india.

The Philippines is so much cheaper... and well the attendance of the indian reps are starting to go bad. Guess they've realized how trivial it is to jump around from centre to centre

Re:Goodbye India, Hello China! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45657545)

The Philippines is so much cheaper

That makes a lot more sense than China. AFAIK English is pretty widely spoken in the Philippines.

Re:Goodbye India, Hello China! (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#45657565)

As I understand it, the reason Chinese speakers find it so hard to learn English, and vice versa, is because the languages are so different.

IIRC, there was some research that showed (suggested?) that if you don't hear some phonemes when you are very young (1-2 years), you can never be good at distinguishing them later. That's the root of the l/r problem.

Re:Goodbye India, Hello China! (1)

lgftsa (617184) | about a year ago | (#45657997)

The report I read was that the neural net which distinguishes phonemes is trained up to the age of around 10-14.

Out of the 110 (approx) (IIRC) human phonemes, most languages use no more than 85 (approx) (IIRC), sometimes far fewer.

The classic Japanese/English "L"/"R" problem is an symptom of this, where for a Japanese person who hasn't been exposed to the "L" sound regularly at a young age, it is mapped to an "R" sound.

Note also, that the single "R" sounds that the Japanese-language person is making instead of "L" and "R" may not be the "R" sounds that the English-language person is hearing. Different "L" and "R" sounds may spoken by Japanese-language person, but the English-language person may only hear them as a single "R" sound. Since there's no common frame of reference, the phoneme corruption could be happening in either or both directions for any phoneme mapping.

I recall reading somewhere else that the French language has three different sounds which map to the English "R" sound. That's my excuse for scraping high-school French, anyway.

There are people who are exceptions to the rule, of course, and there's also the possibility of learning to speak a language correctly by an external feedback loop. All you need is to make different sounds until a person who can hear the difference confirms when the sound is correct, and use that mouth/larynx shape when appropriate. Easy!

It's a game (1)

renzhi (2216300) | about a year ago | (#45657163)

It's a game played by the Indian government. Nokia's handset division is to be sold to Microsoft, which has a ton of cash on hand. It's a game worth playing, as Nokia has no way of packing their bag and getting out tomorrow, so does Microsoft. Microsoft wants that handset division as part of its strategy, and the liability can be worked out by Nokia/Microsoft to transfer to Microsoft, which will then work out a deal with the government, which will promise to sweeten via some kind of tax break on the condition that Microsoft invest more in the country. At the end, they will make a join release, saying that each one has made a score, it is good for the consumer, for the shareholders, for the country, for Jesus, for Buhda, for Ganesha, for Annapurna, for Hanuman, and whatever deity you've got. Everyone would be happy, and it would be the end of the story.

It's the same kind of game governments play all over the world.

Re:It's a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657233)

Will they then break out in spontaneous Bollywood song-and-dance?

Takeover in Jeopardy (2)

musth (901919) | about a year ago | (#45657255)

I'm glad somebody finally knocked that snooty Ken Jennings off his perch.

That leaves one question .. (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#45657351)

.. Rupee's or Dollars?

Divest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45657497)

Fine - dump the factory in India. India can get fucked and the deal can proceed.

Obvious solution: Audit Software licenses. (5, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#45657587)

Just take a survey of all Indian government software licenses. Given the expense and the insanity involved in tracking MS licenses, I'm sure that they could be found to owe at least 3.4 Billion in Licensing and penalty costs.

Re:Obvious solution: Audit Software licenses. (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45657715)

But they can quote some law that may let them slide it. Or at least say fine it must work Through OUR Court system.

Re:Obvious solution: Audit Software licenses. (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a year ago | (#45657761)

Its Microsoft, the company that bled its competitors to death while beating them mercilessly with their own severed appendages during the 90's. I'm sure they just need to unleash their inner bastards and they'll be fine.

Shades of the Vodafone case (3, Interesting)

palemantle (1007299) | about a year ago | (#45657901)

This government tried something similar against Vodafone in 2012 but got smacked down, first by the Supreme Court, and then by the Shome committe. The Vodafone case was quite similar because that too involved an M&A scenario and the government was claiming retroactive effect for some new tax laws.

Vodafone case details:
http://www.thehindu.com/business/companies/vodafone-wins-rs-11000-cr-tax-case-in-supreme-court/article2817238.ece [thehindu.com]

I suspect something similar will happen here and Nokia will settle for a significantly lower amount.

More details on the Nokia case:
http://www.thehindu.com/business/nokia-owes-rs21153-cr-it-dept-tells-delhi-hc/article5440948.ece [thehindu.com]

ok,so dont include the tax bill in the MS deal (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#45657933)

Just state in the merger contract that any tax liabilities owed by Nokia are the responsibility of Nokia and do not follow the Indian factory to Microsoft.
Its Nokia that owe any taxes and the sale of the Indian factory to Microsoft shouldn't mean that somehow the taxes owed go with it.

Re:ok,so dont include the tax bill in the MS deal (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45657989)

I don't think that you quite understand the distinction of buying assets of a company vs. buying a company.

the real legal problem is that the taxes were created retroactively... but hey, if they want to create chilling effects for companies then go ahead..

Though I guess it makes certain twisted logic that they could change the merger contract after it has gone into effect if the Indian government is trying to prop up retroactive taxes to the tune of all profits from last couple of years.

small fish get caught (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45658007)

tax dept took penalties with interest of few 1000 Rupees for 2009 from me recently due to arachaic formulas. Big fish will compromise with corrupt authorities & govt will loose a billion rupees. Laws are same for rich/poor ONLY ON PAPER.

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