Sept. 3 - Microsoft tries to mimic the hardware/software success of Apple and Google with its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia's handset business. Fred Katayama reports.
Microsoft's $7.2 billion dollar acquisition of most of Nokia's mobile phone business is a bet that they'll do better together at what they each failed to do on their own as partners. The deal enables Microsoft to vertically integrate its mobile phone business, putting its software, Windows Phone, together with Nokia's handsets under one roof, just as Apple does with its iOS and iPhone and Google does with Android and its Motorola line. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, "Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft's share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners ..." In addition to hardware, Microsoft gets several senior Nokia executives, including Stephen Elop, who worked at Microsoft before he headed Nokia. Elop has been talked about as a possible successor. But veteran Microsoft watcher Rick Sherlund of Nomura says keep an eye on ValueAct, the activist investment firm that recently took a stake in Microsoft. Sherlund says ValueAct may prefer an outsider. He writes, "We do not view this as a move to secure Mr. Elop as a Ballmer replacement, even though he may be considered as an internal candidate." With Apple and Samsung dominating the global smartphone market, buying Nokia could give Microsoft a stronger shot against struggling BlackBerry in the battle for third place.