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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.  (Source: WPCentral.com)

Newly appointed President of Nokia Inc. (US), Chris Weber.
Microsoft to pay out billions in blockbuster deal with Nokia

While the blockbuster deal that's amped to put Windows Phone 7 on all Nokia smartphones --essentially phasing out Symbian and making WP7 the world's second-most popular mobile OS in its place -- is supposed to benefit both parties involved, it has thus far been met with mixed reaction. 

The day the deal was announced Nokia's shares dropped 14 percent, and a number of employees -- many on the beleaguered Symbian side -- used the company's flextime program to go home early.

Then, at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona over the past weekend, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was forced to go on the defensive, Business Insider reports, after an audience member asked if he was a Trojan horse. 

"The obvious answer is no," Elop replied. "We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night."

The question was an obvious reference to Elop's past at Microsoft, where he was an executive for two years before taking the top spot at Nokia. To some, it may seem a little strange that Nokia would make such a partnership with Microsoft, particularly after its 10-year investment into Symbian. 

Elop also had to defend his shares of Microsoft stock, which Business Insider reports to be approximately 130,000 shares worth nearly $3.18 million.

Conspiracy theorists received additional ammunition Friday, when Nokia announced Chris Weber as its new president of Nokia Inc. (US) and head of the North American market after current president, Mark Louison, "decided to leave Nokia and pursue new career opportunities." Weber spent 16 years at Microsoft, where he held executive positions as high as corporate vice president.

While solid details of the agreement between the two companies have not been released, news surfaced over the weekend that sheds light on just how big the deal is. According to Computer Worldwhile showing a slide that portrayed Microsoft's investments flowing in Nokia's direction, Elop said, "the value transferred to Nokia is measured in Bs not Ms." Meaning, Microsoft pay-out to Nokia in the deal would be in the billions, not millions, of dollars. No additional details were given, like over how many years the investments would take place.

We also learned that Google was actively pursuing Nokia in what could have been a similar deal, but Microsoft won out, according to Elop. "If you combine the current market share of Android with the market share that Nokia could deliver to Android over the next couple of years, it’s a very large number. One could believe the mobile industry thereafter would be some form of duopoly," Elop said. The decision to go with Microsoft over Google was made to change the dynamic and make it "a three-horse race," as Elop said. Presumably, the multi-billion-dollar investment doesn't hurt, either.

As for availability, a top executive told Computer World that the first WP7-powered Nokia's will be available this year.



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Trojan horse or not--so what?
By MrBlastman on 2/14/2011 10:35:32 AM , Rating: 4
The fact is, Nokia is in trouble. Stephen, like it or not, was telling the truth. Was he a trojan sent by Microsoft to get inroads into a major manufacturer? Who knows. I really don't care.

The board hired him. The board sided with his decision and voted to approve the inclusion of Microsoft on their platform. If it were truly a coup, then one would have to argue that Microsoft would have had to been in all their pockets, not just his. I suppose it is also possible to argue that Microsoft "greased" the wheels of business by telling the board, "We'll give you lots of money if you hire him," behind the scenes.

All of these sound like conspiracy stories. The biggest conspiracy of all though, is that Nokia has been conning their shareholders and employees out of market cap and worth of company by dropping the ball all these years. I say give Stephen and Microsoft a shot on their platform.

They need something to save them, fast.




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