Stephen Elop (L) and Steve Ballmer (R)  (Source: Reuters)
Stephen Elop will become Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices & Services

Well, can't say we didn't see this one coming. When Nokia poached former Microsoft executive Steven Elop for the CEO job back in 2010, many speculated that Nokia's mobile division would one day fall under the wide umbrella of Redmond, Washington-based giant (with Elop being the Trojan Horse). It looks as though those musings were correct and Microsoft announced this evening that it is purchasing Nokia's Devices and Services Unit for a whopping $7.2 billion ($5 billion for D&S, $2.2 billion to license Nokia's patents for 10 years).
With this acquisition, Microsoft will gain 32,000 Nokia employees. In addition, the transaction will be finalized during the first quarter of 2014.
Steve Ballmer, who will soon be on the way out the door as Microsoft's CEO, was quite ecstatic about the purchase. "It's a bold step into the future - a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. 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 across our entire family of devices and services," said Ballmer.
"In addition to their innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, and hardware sales, marketing and distribution."

Nokia Lumia 1020
While Stephen Elop has been sitting atop the Nokia food chain as CEO for the past three years, he will leave the title behind to become Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices & Services within Microsoft's loving arms.
"Building on our successful partnership, we can now bring together the best of Microsoft's software engineering with the best of Nokia's product engineering, award-winning design, and global sales, marketing and manufacturing," said Elop. "With this combination of talented people, we have the opportunity to accelerate the current momentum and cutting-edge innovation of both our smart devices and mobile phone products."

In a letter to the troops obtained by The Verge, Ballmer explained Elop's role in a little more detail (it looks as though Elop will be brushing shoulders with Julie Larson-Green):

1. Stephen Elop will be coming back to Microsoft, and he will lead an expanded Devices team, which includes all of our current Devices and Studios work and most of the teams coming over from Nokia, reporting to me.

2. Julie Larson-Green will continue to run the Devices and Studios team, and will be focused on the big launches this fall including Xbox One and our Surface enhancements. Julie will be joining Stephen's team once the acquisition closes, and will work with him to shape the new organization.

Slide presentation of Microsoft's motives for acquiring Nokia [Courtesy Microsoft]
With Microsoft now taking the driver's seat with Nokia's devices division, all of the folks wishing to see Google's Android operating system on Nokia hardware have likely just seen their dreams go up in smoke. However, Microsoft now has the luxury of having both hardware and software under one roof (a la Apple) in an effort to claw back some market share in the smartphone sector.
It's no fun when there are just two players taking up the lion's share of the smartphone market (iOS and Android), so we’ll eagerly wait to see if Microsoft can double down on its mobile efforts at the same time that BlackBerry is contemplating becoming a "niche company"...

But with that out of the way, who wants to place bets on Stephen Elop as the next CEO of Microsoft come Q1 2014?

Sources: Nokia [1], [2], Microsoft

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