Microsoft-Nokia Deal is Ballmer’s Last Stand

Microsoft-Nokia Deal is Ballmer’s Last Stand

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shows off smartphones running the Windows Phone platform at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 7, 2013. (Courtesy of Bloomberg)
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shows off smartphones running the Windows Phone platform at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 7, 2013. (Courtesy of Bloomberg)

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — With Microsoft Corp.’s $7.2 billion deal to finally buy Nokia Corp.’s mobile phone business, retiring CEO Steve Ballmer is putting what may be his last imprint on the software giant.

Whether Microsoft’s MSFT -0.05% competitive position in the smartphone arena will improve by acquiring its main hardware partner is the big question. But Ballmer, who is stepping down as chief executive within the next year, appears to be putting into place the final peg in his strategy of “devices and services” in the hopes this vision is carried out. In fact, the deal assures that it will be nearly impossible for Ballmer’s replacement NOT to pursue this strategy.

Microsoft is acquiring nearly all of Nokia’s mobile business in a $7.18 billion deal. What the purchase means for the tech world.

Microsoft told investors on a conference call earlier Tuesday that the main goal of the Nokia deal was to “ensure future access to devices that can run Windows Phone software.”

Translation: Other smartphone makers are not really adopting Windows Phone, so we had to buy Nokia to make sure that someone was building phones for the software.

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