back to article Nokia: There will be NO smartphone division selloff to Microsoft

Rumours that Nokia is about to sell its smartphone division to Microsoft and that CEO Stephen Elop will jump after closing the deal have been denied yet again by the Finnish phone-makers. The suggestion that Nokia will sell off their crown jewels to Redmond has been rebuffed before, and even had an impact on the markets last …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Not yet, Microsoft will devalue Nokia a bit more first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Why would they devalue a company that their phone OS is closely tied to?

      This is just another 'Reg article to wind up the commentators and get all those juicy adverts re-loaded every time someone presses F5. They even say in the article that it's a repeat of the same claim - that has already been denied - by the same person who made the claim last time.

      1. LarsG


        I didn't know Nokia still make phones.

        Has anyone bought one?

        1. Figgus


          I hear Microsoft is about to buy a Nokia Phone. Does that count?

          1. Thomas 4


            "The suggestion that Nokia will sell off their crown jewels to Redmond has been rebuffed before, and even had an impact on the markets last year, but despite the Finns repeated denials, the rumour simply won't go away."

            Why does Microsoft need to buy their crown jewels when they have them by the family jewels instead?

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      I don't recall anyone predicting the sale of the smartphone division to MS. I thought we were all predicting the firesale of the whole kit & kaboodle, patents and all?

  2. Bob Vistakin

    In other news, Sendo "delighted" with treatment from m$

    "The partnership has been fantastic", said a spokesman. "m$ are a delight to deal with and only have our best interests at heart. Truly, they go out of their way to see Sendos hard work, IP and effort in the past rewards the ones who truly deserve it."

    Fact: When Stephen Elop joined Nokia, he was Microsofts 8th largets individual shareholder:

    1. Thomas 4

      I remember Sendo fondly

      Back in the days when they made the Series 60 Sendo X, it was a really handy candybar smartphone. I even managed to get they keyboard for it and very briefly, my hands on the Sendo X2. A real shame they disappeared into the gurgler.

  3. Tim Walker

    It's coming...

    I wouldn't quite promise to eat my proverbial hat if Microsoft doesn't "Borg" Nokia before the end of 2012, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen to some degree. Why?

    - MS already has one of "theirs" at the top of Nokia, who defenestrated Symbian and Meego almost as soon as he walked into his office.

    - Elop has overseen Nokia's sales go into freefall since "WP Day" on 11/02/2011 (yes, they weren't exactly healthy before Elop "did a Ratner", but the dive has steepened considerably since).

    - Two words: "Google" and "Motorola". Nokia has ample phone hardware nous, and is sitting on a nice fat portfolio of patents - a most tasty feast for a behemoth which knows it has a lot of catching-up to do in the mobile space, don't you think?

    Might not happen after all, but I will be very far from surprised if the assimilation takes place, and sooner rather than later.

    1. hazydave

      Could be

      The rumors were there, over a year ago, that Microsoft wanted to buy Noika and/or their smartphone division. Windows Phone was not competitive, held 6% of the global smartphone market, but falling fast, and the newly launched Windows7Phone was not catching much press, much less industry fire or even many sales.

      Instead, we got the "special relationship", Nokia and Microsoft echoing Toshiba and Microsoft on the failed HD-DVD of a few years back. Today, now at 1.5% share of the smartphone market (and both iOS and Android slowly grabbing the lower hanging fruit of the failing Blackberry and SymbianOS markets, and BadaOS growing into the dumbphone space in more price sensitive Asian marjets), this hasn't worked. And just like Toshiba's hardware, Nokia's is looking tired and weak up against Apple and all those Androids. Microsoft just walked away last time as Toshiba couldn't afford to keep going, and no other HW company was interested.

      In short, MS failed because their usual superpower -- the ability to lose money for years, even decades, to win a market -- was rendered inert by their hardware partner. Nokia at this point looks weaker than Toshiba ever did, and while MS has a few others playing with a token W7P phone or two, they sure look recycled bits of last year's Androids.

      All that fail before it's even important to considet W7P or anything else Microsoft brings to the table... Microsoft must be having acid stomach. Plus, it's well known MS only copies the competition. They did a good job of being Sony and Nintendo on the X-Box and X-Box 360. the latter also being MS's best loved effort. People love the X-Box.

      So why not buy Nokia, take the hardware reigns, and be Apple instead? Everyone knows that's what MS wanted with the Zune, and this is, after all, really the zunePhone. With MS in charge, a consistent strategy could emerge. They could make these devices very good at games, like the iPhone, and leverage the X-Box heritage... rather than worse than the 3GS.

      As for the Kin, that device was an obvious failure, and it was amazing Microsoft was so disconnected from the market they didn't get this. I knew this before ever seeing the HW or SW. Think about it.... this was a "feature" phone targeted at teenagers. Only, it required a smartphone-level data plan; like snartphones on US carriers, not negotiable. So at least $25-$30 per monthover the basic phone fees. Seriously... [1] do you really pay fir your kids to have smartphones? my teenagers have phones so I can contact them...and [2] if you did pay the smartphone fees, would said kids actually choose a Kin over and iPhone? No way.The Microsoft name alone would kill the deal.

      This kind of suggests that perhaps Microsoft still doesn't understand consumet smartphones. Much was made over wheter Nokia sold 500K or so smartphones in November and December, or wheter it was secretly much less in various possible ways. Thing is, it doesn't matter... that less than a day's sales of Android devices.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Exactly. It's not hard to see why most consumers treat m$ phones like muslims treat bacon butties. The comedy offerings available now look deliberately designed to fail. If not, jeepers, even its main screen is a joke - who the heck decided, on a handheld device where every pixel matters, to waste a quarter of it with a stupid great black column down the right, whilst cutting off the title text half way because, errr, there's not enough space for it? Does even this most basic UI concept fail them - or as I say, is someone back in Redmond cackling away at all this?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Just say if you don't like it, don't try to spin it that no-one else likes it. Everyone who has seen mine and had a play with it liked it, they may not be going out to buy one, but it hasn't elicited horror.

          The copping off of words (usually only titles, anyway) isn't an issue because you can scroll across to see them, if you don't know what they say. It's a bit like looking at the world through a window, you can see everything but it's framed and you need to change perspective to see some bits, but you generally get a very good idea what's there.

          As for the black bit - that is effectively a scroll bar where your thumb goes up and down - putting anything there would mean that you have to take your thumb off the screen to see where it is. This is a problem with Android and iOS, in that you have to swipe over the screen - covering it with your hand - to get to the next set of icons. The only issue I have with the black bit is that you can't switch the phone into "left handed mode".

          Anyway, you've clearly never actually used the WP7 OS, only seen pictures, otherwise you'd know all this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Even the 'turfers' tales are less than enthusiastic!

            "Everyone who has seen mine and had a play with it liked it, they may not be going out to buy one, but it hasn't elicited horror."

            Is that the best the legions of astroturfers can do now? Previously, on any Nokia/Microsoft/WinPhone article it was, "I didn't expect my friends to like my Windows Phone but once they'd given it a try, they were converted!" Now those "friends" are merely not horrified by the experience.

            Also, if anyone at Microsoft or Nokia really expected to set the smartphone world alight with their joint offering, their delusions are presumably dawning on them right now. A couple of new handsets is a slash in the ocean unless they are bringing something new or rather different to the table. At Microkia, the corporate bladder just isn't as big as the average executive ego.

            From the book of Fail, here endeth the lesson.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Plus, it's well known MS only copies the competition."

        I stopped reading right there. You obviously don't have a clue and never seen WP7.

        1. Bob Vistakin

          "Plus, it's well known MS only copies the competition."

          I stopped reading right there. You obviously don't have a clue and never seen this:

  4. Anonymous Coward

    (at least not until)

    Nokia's intentionally suicidal business decisions made by Ex-Microsoft's bosses make Nokica's shareprice almost worthless.

    At which time, Microsoft will come rushing in like heroes on white horses to rescue the ailing mobile giant...

    Is that how the storyline will be played out at Redmond? I think so.

  5. Alex Norcliffe

    Not convinced

    Call me cynical but if Nokia UK comms manager David Hall doesn't know the whereabouts of the CEO and is making educated guesses about his meetings with Ballmer, it's not a complete impossibility to suggest he wouldn't be kept in the knowledge of such a potentially contentious, massive move for the company that'll be way beyond his pay grade, comms manager or not. Such talks would be kept to an absolute minimum of executives.

    Despite the reports that he's unpopular, the fact Andy Lees has been moved to "another opportunity regarding Windows 8 and Windows Phone" inside MS also connects reasonably well with this rumour.

    Kind of hope it doesn't happen though. Nokia has far more brand appreciation than anything with "Windows" in it. From obviously just anecdotal evidence from friends' reactions to my Lumia 800, Microsoft could probably see more return from an investment in rebranding to something not connected with negative Windows connotations to get consumers to give it more of a chance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you know where your boss is for the rest of this week? I report directly to mine, and I haven't got a clue.

      Agreed that WP7 needs a sexier name though, they should have branded it fresh. Called it anything, a bit cool and trendy... SkyPuff (not really... obviously) - something that indicates cloudy interconnected goodness.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        I like this - a suggestion thread for what m$ should have called WP7. Here's a few for starters:

        "Appless Desperation"


        "The BallmerFail"

        "Expensive Irrelevance"

        "The IsThatAll?"

        And of course, bearing in mind its fantastic innovation of cutting words off halfway through

        "The HalfAssedUs

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Like the old song...

          Winagin Beginagin?

      2. Andus McCoatover

        "Do you know where your boss is for the rest of this week?

        "I report directly to mine, and I haven't got a clue."

        I used to report directly to mine, and he hadn't a clue which pub I was spending my working hours in, either...

    2. hazydave

      I agree. No idea how Nokia runs its business. But I used to work for a little computer outfit called Commodore. We had all kinds of things said by our UK (and other regional) GMs that were pure scuence fiction from the international company's point of view. There is no reason to be sure anyone knows what Elop and Ballmer are agreeing to. I mean, common sense isn't even a factor.. Elop is the same guy who has basically "Osborned" Nokia by announcing in 2010 that every smartphone they sold then, or would sell for the next year+, was already obsolete. As were their OSs (SymbianOS and MeeGo).

      Adding W7P "sometime in the future" is dandy, by why kill the current product lines. At all? All those lost jobs, all that lost business, layoffs, factories downsized....oh. You might imagine, if the plan was always for MS to buy out Nokia, it's much cheaper to bail out a failing Nokia. And save MS the bad PR from killing the other platforms or closing factories (MS would probably rather just use CMs, not own the factory, just like Apple),

  6. Heironymous Coward


    "We have firmly scotched rumours of the smartphone division being sold to Microsoft," he said. "We have knocked them on the head time and time again."

    Nothing in that statement says that there are no plans for the division to be sold. All he said was that they tried to quash rumours about it being sold - which they would do if they wanted the share price to be lower.

    And I agree with Alex that the name needs to be changed. Preferably to something without the words "Windows" and "Microsoft". I wouldn't buy it anyway...

    RIP Nokia. You can always go back to wellies...

  7. Majid

    Which part of MicroSOFT don't you understand?

    Microsoft is about software. not hardware. So I find it extremely unlikely that Ms will ever buy a hardware company (which Nokia is).

    Their whole bussiness strategy is about leaving hardware to 'partners'. (hp, dell, htc, samsung, .. just about everybody that matters) So I don't see them turning that strategy around any time soon, because it will just rub their remaining partners the wrong way, and not to mention that it will bring counts of monopoly probes and lawsuits on their doorstep.

    1. admiraljkb

      re: Which part of MicroSOFT don't you understand?

      Yeah, see the thing is - MS probably does want the patents, and currently Nokia is bordering already on being worth more "dead" than alive. It conceivable to continue to see Elop tank Nokia, and then MS swoop in to purchase patents, and then just kill off the rest of the company by selling off the remainder of the assets. It is a dog eat dog world after all... They can also get around the monopoly issue by *just* buying the patents, and nothing else... Nortel was sold off piecemeal like that...

      I said it before elsewhere, but Elop essentially "Osborned" Nokia by making a premature Windows Phone announce with no forseeable shipping product. He had (and dare say has) not much skin in the game if Nokia goes away, he made his money already with MS. If Nokia goes buhbye, he's still living quite comfortably. Currently, Nokia is no longer in the US market at all, so a recovery is *almost* insurmountable there. Meanwhile Samsung and HTC sell winmobes (and droids) in the US already and can finance Winmobe losses by Android profits, so why does MS need Nokia again other than for Elop to run them into the ground and then MS grab the patents? Elop's actions have been questionable at best...

    2. Figgus

      "Microsoft is about software. not hardware. So I find it extremely unlikely that Ms will ever buy a hardware company (which Nokia is)."

      Yeah, it's a good thing Microsoft never ventured into mice, keyboards, music players, and game consoles, or else people might get the strange idea that Microsoft does hardware too.

      Wait, what?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Yeah, it's a good thing Microsoft never ventured into mice, keyboards, music players, and game consoles, or else people might get the strange idea that Microsoft does hardware too."

        Tesco does Tesco Value keyboards, webcams and so on. If they put a badge on a cheap console would that make them a hardware player, too? Sheesh!

        Microsoft's hardware expertise is limited. A lot of the big names trumpet their "design" skills, but the actual design action happens elsewhere.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



    4. Gerhard Mack


      Forgotten about Danger Incorporated (the company behind the Sidekick) already? Every celebrity had to have one them MS bought the company and completely destroyed the brand.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Expect you are feeling like a jerk now?

      What part of "knowing anything relevant before posting like an arrogant dweeb" don't you understand?

    6. Equitas

      Ironic, isn't it ......

      The only things Microsoft seem to do well are mice and, to a lesser extent, keyboards. Now if they could just do operating systems and software as well as they do mice and keyboards the computer world would be a much more pleasant place :-)

  8. Christian Berger

    Why should Microsoft buy it?

    When they already have control over it? They can still buy it once the stock price is below liquidation value.

  9. alexh2o

    Dead horse...

    Really wish people would stop mentioning MeeGo and Symbian, and the host of 'Elop is a trojan horse' comments. It happened. No one knows 'what could have been'. There's certainly no turning back now. So just accept it's happened and move on already! Geez...

    Side note- I've actually used an N9 and a Lumia 800... bar the slightly smaller screen and a couple of neat touches, WP7 is miles ahead of MeeGo! Couple that to MeeGo's non existent app store.. or rather ecosystem, and the whole WP thing does make sense. I think the only people who hate on the idea have never actually given it a chance or are stuck in some mystical world where everything should be open source.

    1. admiraljkb

      re Dead horse

      I did get a chuckle out of the headline. I agreee, that horse (Nokia) is buried. The articles keep coming up though, and Nokia is in the tank, and unlikely to ever recover... If it was ANY company other than Nokia, the former supreme mobile leader, the press would have let it be by now.

      On a bright note (for those with a Winmobe bent), the MS phones will continue to be be made by the current and almost only winmobe flagships Samsung and HTC.

      1. multipharious


        Have you had a Lumia in your hands yet? Very nice device. Surprisingly nice.

        1. admiraljkb


          I have have no reason to doubt you. I've had an HTC in my hands when last shopping. It wasn't my cup of tea really. My opinion on the UI wasn't that great, and it isn't very flexible for being able to tweak, but I'm not the market segment it was aimed at. But Nokia has no market presence in the US at all now. I couldn't look at a Lumia if I wanted to currently. T-Mobile (subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom) has a 710 "coming soon", but that is the only carrier to have anything from Nokia currently displayed on their websites. Hence part of my gloomy outlook on Nokia, they just missed the Christmas phone boom in the US and complete loss of Brand name recognition. Over here, it looks like they went bankrupt, disappeared altogether, and then trying to make a Braniff style comeback...

  10. asdf

    nobody ever mentions

    Don't blame Micro$oft for all the shennigans. Blame Nokia's board and major shareholders for allowing it to happen. Micro$oft unlike Nokia is trying to increase in value. I guess Finnish are famously indecisive and bureaucratic to the point of being self destructive.

    1. admiraljkb

      re nobody ever mentions

      Agreed. It takes a several in this case to tango. I can't speak to the Finnish bureaucracy, but the Nokia board definitely shoulders most of the blame for allowing Elop to proceed like he has.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I blame Finland's eugenics program

      It continued till early 70s, I think, and produced the managers that ruined Nokia. Now they are just the prostitute of Satan, but the kind of prostitute that doesn't even look good because she's on crack and customers are not coming any more... Sad.

  11. Someone Else Silver badge

    How can you tell that a Corpodroid is lying?

    It's lips are moving.


    Nokia's UK communications manager David Hall denied the rumours once again:

    "We have firmly scotched rumours of the smartphone division being sold to Microsoft," he said. "We have knocked them on the head time and time again."


  12. Doug 3

    they can't afford "success" like XBox with WP

    The XBox project has cost them 10s of billions and is just now bringing in some quarterly profits. But you know what? Android licensing fees brings in more money. So if that is success, I don't think Microsoft can continue to lose billions annually on the WP project over the next 10 years.

    and what would you expect Elop or Microsoft to say if it were true? I guess by saying there will be no smartphone sell off it could mean there'll be a complete sell out or some other form of sell out.

    "eat this" because the story was more fluff than stuff.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember a CEO telling an entire theatre full of ship's crew the same thing

    "There are no plans to sell this ship"

    About 9 months later the ship was sold and half the crew lost their jobs.

    The end result of this was clear last February - Microsoft will buy a notable portion of Nokia, though not the whole - just the tasty portions.

    The shareholders will finally wake up to the fact they have been royally screwed, yet Elop will still get his golden parachute and move on to another company he can destroy.

    The next CEO will be in a near-impossible position, and will have to work miracles if Nokia is to survive as anything more than a badgineering brand as by then they'll have very little IP, no cash and a tiny (if any) R&D dept.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why pay for the cow when you get the milk for "Free".


    Microsoft put up 1 Billion dollars. (Dr. Evil smile here...)

    So why would they then pay more and scoop them up?

    Plus why buy a phone manufacturer when you would piss off your other partners?

    If anything its the new Nokia L&C that would probably pique their interest, not the actual hardware.

    Even there. Microsoft will want to wait and see how things progress throughout 2012. My money is on them doing nothing to rock the boat in 2012.

    But what do I know? I'm just some anonymous guy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      answers the question with a question...

      why did Google buy Moto?


      MS just doing it on a grander scale - as befits both their desperation and their hubris

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Nokia has the mother of all trojans

        Even though now Nokia has been reduced to being merely Microsofts bitch, technically there's nothing to stop them selling their patents to the highest bidder, and not doing what Ballmers puppet says even though he's the CEO. The shareholders must agree to whatever gives the best value, and if that means a bidding war so be it.

  15. Ru
    Paris Hilton

    What's in it for Microsoft?

    Seems like such a move would not be good for the Windows Phone OS or whatever the platform is called these days. Moreover, why would MS want to be saddled with all of the rest of the baggage Nokia would bring to the table?

    They'd be better off saving up for RIM.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XBOX Success

    Yes, losing billions on faulty hardware is most definitely success:

    I keep hearing this said about the XBOX and it drives me nuts...

    - Matt

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A 4 year old article? Microsoft spend billions developing the XBox (and still hasn't made all of that back), but that business unit has been turning a profit every year since that article was published.

  17. dssf

    Scotched & Knocked? Or...

    Scorched and Knicked?

    ""We have firmly scotched rumours of the smartphone division being sold to Microsoft," he said. "We have knocked them on the head time and time again.""


    Seems they've just fanned the scorching flames...

  18. admiraljkb

    and now is the perfect time for a 'Yes, Minister' quotation...

    "First rule in politics: never believe anything until it's officially denied"

  19. roselan

    will be quite fun if another company (who said google) jumps in and grab the falling fruit before m$.

    I mean Ellop might be CEO, but he is no owner or board. I guess the board, if they have more than one brain cell collectively, should feel quite fworded by m$/Ellop.

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