It may have taken a little longer than expected, but Nokia
has won approval from China to sell its Devices and Services business to Microsoft
. The two companies announced the roughly $7.2 billion deal
back in September, at the time saying it would need to clear regulatory hurdles. Nokia and Microsoft expected to wade through all the red tape by the end of the Q1, but getting approval from the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China proved more difficult than anticipated, hence the slight delay.
Nokia says the regulatory approval process included a thorough review of its patent license practices by several competition authorities around the world, which is another reason why it's taken several months to see a close date for this deal.
"During that process, no authority has challenged Nokia's compliance with its FRAND undertakings related to standard-essential patents (licensing on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms) or requested that Nokia make changes to its licensing program or royalty terms," Nokia said.
Clearing the regulatory hurdle in China also required that Microsoft make a handful of commitments, the boring rhetoric of which you can read here (PDF)
"There was an important principle with which MOFCOM (Chinese Ministry of Commerce) approached these discussions from the beginning: any commitments should be focused on how our future conduct might change after we own the Nokia Devices and Services business, and should not impact our licenses signed in the past or historical practices," Microsoft stated in a blog post. " It has never been our intent to change our practices after we acquire the Nokia business, so while we disagreed with the premise that our incentives might change in the future, we were happy to discuss commitments on this basis."
According to Microsoft, of the 16 markets in which this proposed deal has been cleared to proceed, the vast majority did not ask that any conditions be met.