Sunday, 23/10/2016 | 8:16 UTC+8
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Microsoft agrees to buy Nokia mobile phone business

Microsoft agrees to buy Nokia mobile phone business
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In an email to Microsoft employees, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO who is set to retire, announced the company’s “agreement to purchase Nokia’s Devices & Services business, which includes their smartphone and mobile phone businesses, their award-winning design team, manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world, and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support.”

Microsoft and Nokia have been in an exclusive partnership for the past two and a half years for the former’s Windows Phone OS and the latter’s smartphone range. Earlier talks about the purchase were reported to fail due to disagreements in price. Now it appears that the two have finally reached an agreeable worth: US$7 billion.

The transaction is still waiting for the approval of Nokia shareholders and regulators. But it’s very interesting and exciting to see how much of Nokia’s key leadership, including top design executives and CEO Stephen Elop (who is stepping down before the transition), is moving to Microsoft. Is Stephen Elop replacing Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO? Will app developers finally pay more attention to the Windows Phone platform? Are we going to see the next iPhone from Microsoft?

This shows how serious Microsoft is in flexing its muscles in the smartphone arena. And perhaps this means better integration of hardware and software, which has always been Apple’s edge. Even Samsung is going the same route with the announcement of its Tizen OS.

Do we see Android being greatly crippled in the future without OBM devices (ASUS, HTC, and LG have all been tapped to manufacture devices for Google)? Can Apple continue to lead in vertical integration? We are all buckled in our seats waiting for what’s next.

So, what does this mean to consumers, you ask. Hopefully, better products. But we know that product performance alone doesn’t guarantee sales. Marketing also has a huge role to play in it. And the volatile strategies of these top manufacturers and software developers keep us on the lookout for the next wave of innovation more than new devices. Yes, it’s now or never for Apple to show its fangs once again.

If this deal pushes through, what’s sure is that we bid good bye to any chance of having a sleek Nokia phone running on naked Android. Heartbreak.

Read Ballmer’s full email here:

Words Aritha Zel Zalamea

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