Shareholders of Nokia are expected tomorrow to give final approval for the sale of its mobile phone division to Microsoft, a deal which has been in place for several months. Though a small number of Finnish investors were vocal in their opposition to selling a company of national pride, the financial incentives are too strong for shareholders to reject the deal.
Microsoft announced their purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services division back in early September for a total price of $7.1 billion – $5 billion for Nokia’s mobile division and $2.1 billion for patent rights. The deal solidifies Microsoft’s position in the mobile marketplace, which has partnered with Nokia for the past several years to sell Nokia Lumia smartphones.
Nokia’s Lumia line of smartphones have been received favorably, as has Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows 8. However, despite the high praise, Windows Phone continues to be stuck in 3rd place behind Android and iOS mobile devices, and Nokia has been struggling with its late entrance into the smartphone marketplace. With demand for smartphones still growing, the deal between the longtime #1 manufacturer of cellular phones and the software giant aims to give both companies a boost in their constant battle with Apple and Google.
With tomorrow’s approval, the sale of Nokia to Microsoft will conclude a stunning fall for the company that elevated Finland as a world leader in technology. Nokia once produced a staggering 4% of national GDP for the Scandinavian nation, but similar to Motorola (whose own sale to Google perhaps foretold of Nokia’s own fate), the cell phone giant that rose to prominence in the late 90s and early 2000s just could not compete against Apple and Samsung. Perhaps most telling is that Microsoft purchased Nokia’s mobile division for $1.4 billion less than it paid for the video conferencing program Skype.
Only the future will tell if Nokia’s sale to Microsoft can help resurrect the company’s mobile devices to the top once again.