On Labor Day, Microsoft and Nokia issued
a press release confirming that Nokia's devices division was being wholly acquired by Microsoft. It was a fairly short release, and just like that, it was done. But here's the thing: while it was easy to announce, it took a ton of work to get where we are today. The New York Times has a report outlining the timeline of events that led to this historic move -- a move that will remove Nokia's branding from future smartphones, and a move that proves Microsoft is serious about getting into the vertically integrated hardware arena.
The story tells a wild tale, where Microsoft weighed options of buying BlackBerry
in order to grab yet another hardware partner. But, with Nokia able to skirt out of the Windows Phone exclusive (software) partnership in 2014, Microsoft also worried that Nokia would switch to Android in order to boost its sales and image. So, in a way, this was a move of protection. Once the two began talking, there were plenty of obstacles. Notably, Nokia didn't want to fully give up control of its mapping services, and sure enough, it managed to keep little more than just that in the finalized deal.
Microsoft's first formal presentation to buy Nokia "bombed," according to the story. During one discussion in May, Steve Ballmer even tripped on a table in a law office and bloodied up his face. Naturally, the table was removed for the rest of the meeting.
The full story is a great read, and it struck us as odd that Nokia put up so much resistance. It's clear that Nokia's smartphone business is going nowhere fast, and it seems as if the Microsoft deal is a rescue operation. Oddly, Nokia didn't view it as that at first, but as we all know now, came around eventually.