Feeds

back to article Microsoft 'mulled Nokia buyout, ran away screaming'

Rumours of a Microsoft buyout of fallen phone champ Nokia have re-emerged, prompted by nothing more, it seems, than Nokia's sickly share price. Nokia shares recently hit a 15-year low, dropping 40 per cent in the past three months alone*. But well-placed sources tell us that Microsoft was given access to Nokia's books late last …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Stop

Someone still thinks it's got legs

As Nokias share price is now $3 (from $2.70).

Expect it to fall to $2.50 by the end of the day....

4
7
Anonymous Coward

"What do you think?"

I think if the management continue to exclusively produce Windows Phone devices, despite the complete commercial failure of the platform, then the executives behind the strategy should be taken out and shot.

Or prosecuted for negligence, but I'd prefer if they were shot.

21
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: "What do you think?"

If I were a shareholder, I would be pretty pissed by the suicidal decisions that have been made.

I mean what idiot would adopt a platform that was already on life-support. It wasn't like you couldn't see where Android was headed when they made that dumb Windows Phone decision.

Indecently, I see Google are now activating 900,000 Android phones every day (and that number doesn't include other Android devices).

You have to wonder how different the Nokia story would be if they had taken that route. They clearly could have been on the road to being a Samsung, a HTC or a Sony by now.

9
2
Silver badge

Re: "What do you think?"

The official(ish) Nokia line is that talks were started with The Glooge, but they were asking too much and demanding too much. So Nokia didn't feel that Android was a possibility.

Also, MS were offering a big pile of cash.

This is not to excuse some incredibly inept management. But it does make the 'NokiDroid would have conquered the world' narrative a little less straightforward.

Besides, the phone market is clearly settling down into the usual duopoly.

The Glooge has nothing to lose by lettings its vassals fight it out until only a few are left. Apple will continue being Apple. And the rest are increasingly irrelevant.

Nokia could have been a contender with a home-made competing OS that could have taken on the Droid and iOS.

But the Symbian story proves that while Nokia had the talent, it didn't have the management to make that happen. WinPho is a poor alternative.

I'd still lay odds on a break-up, with MS picking over the bones of the IP and then failing to do anything with it.

It's interesting how *reliably* bad management has killed some of the leading IT corps over the last few years. MS, HP, Nokia, Sony, and others are all driving with no brakes into a massive crater of stupid.

25
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: "What do you think?"

They may be activating 900,000 Android handsets a day, but what's the picture behind that?

Ask any semi-successful smartphone apps developer where their revenue comes from. You'll find that over ~90% is from iOS. Google gets search but little else. Apple is ditching Google Maps. WP has Bing maps, Nokia have Maps and Drive, Then of course there's the fragmentation and the fact that manufacturers and telcos make more money by keeping people on Android v. old.

Oh noes :-O

If I were a Google shareholder I'd be pretty pissed at the poor execution on Android. At least Nokia have a Micro$oft safety net.

1
16
Anonymous Coward

Re: "What do you think?"

"Ask any semi-successful smartphone apps developer where their revenue comes from. You'll find that over ~90% is from iOS"

Really - is that a "truth", maybe a few reasonable references wouldn't go a miss.

How about Rovio and Angry Birds? 2011 50-50 IOS, Android Angry Birds Revenue From Android, iOS Now Roughly Even, Rovio Says

"there's the fragmentation"

Funny, I don't hear that said about Android much recently - especially not from people it actually affects. Is it because ISO is quite "fragmented" [tongue in cheek] with their various offerings or is it just that fragmentation was being used as FUD which never really materialised?

"If I were a Google shareholder I'd be pretty pissed at the poor execution on Android. At least Nokia have a Micro$oft safety net."

If I was a Google shareholder I would be sitting pretty smug with the route Google has taken and managed to get themselves number 1 spot in the emerging smartphone market. If I was a Nokia shareholder I would be thinking "What to hell happened to the number one mobile phone company in the world to be at the mercy of Microsoft and be waiting until Microsoft have devalued it enough to give me a few pennies for my shares"

11
1
Thumb Up

Re: "What do you think?"

'MS, HP, Nokia, Sony, and others are all driving with no brakes into a massive crater of stupid.'

Thumbs up just for that remark.

8
0
Bronze badge

"gloogle and its vassals"

So what precluded Nokia to go the Amazon's path? Take the code do whatever they want to do with it?

Moreover, they could offer a more enticing choice of having two systems MeeGo and Android on-board that would be a good reason for a lot of people to buy from them.

It is quite suspicious for a former MS employee to tack the ship to go with the Microsoft-only wind (or stillness) and consequently make it capsize. It needs not only a good deal of incompetence, but more of a criminal negligence.

1
0

asking too much? for an OS code base?

mon, you slay me. it's called "forking." download, change the name, go your own way. initial development costs of nothing.

Nokia was truly in a world of hurt if "nothing" is too dear.

then again, they were, and Microsoft paid them to be their demo vendor. we all know what happens to Microsoft demo vendors in a couple years.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: asking too much? for an OS code base?

Download, change the name + improve it and add support for your fancy hardware while keeping compatibility for all the Android apps.

You can drive on any road in a Lada but people are prepared to pay a premium for a BMW or Merc which still uses the same commodity petrol.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

@ TheOtherHobbes wuzRe: "What do you think?"

That was the official line. The issue was that Google wouldn't allow them to really differentiate themselves from other android handsets so how could they retain, make market share and compete against cheaper phones?

Microsoft did wave a lot of money out there. So that's why they flipped to build a Microsoft handset.

But is Microsoft's Windows phone any better than an iPhone or a Droid? So the herd mentality falls in to place and Nokia dies a slow death....

Microsoft won't pick them up.

Apple? Apple may want to take Map and Traffic, but that's about it. Facebook? who knows. They may take the whole thing just to get in to the market.

Either way, they will wait as Nokia burns through cash and then try and pick up the pieces at a fire sale discount. ;-)

0
1
Facepalm

Nokia should stay the course and concentrate on Feature phones.

The Nokia Asha range has a future.

These devices have the right mix of price/features and market positioning. (if only they were available everywhere). They compete very well against the 60 quids Android running on 2.2 or 2.3

Nokia could concentrate on those devices and drop everything else. (e.g. S60 makes no sense)

Regarding the Windows phones, Nokia should just tag along and upgrades those, as MS updates the OS.

There is no reason to spend so much, time, marketing dollars, and development resources on something people don't want, and operators don't care about.

3
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: Nokia should stay the course and concentrate on Feature phones.

> The Nokia Asha range has a future.

Those kinds of handsets may very well have a future, but not inside Nokia I think.

Asha is the Symbian platform's last breath, before it's <del>cemented to a concrete block and thrown into the sea</del> outsourced to Accenture.

Perhaps its feature/price balance may live on, in some other manufacturer, through some other platform – Boot2Gecko maybe? – but for Nokia it's too late, for better or (more likely) worse they're headed towards being a bloatphone-only company; for how long it's anybody's guess.

1
0
Bronze badge

Core business

The bit of Nokia I could see Microsoft buying is Navteq. It would bolster Bing's (excellent) mapping, and fit with Nokia's sell off and closure of non-core business like Vertu and Nokia Money.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Core business

I have to post this anon for obvious reasons.

Navteq is now Nokia L&C (Locations and Commerce).

Map business and Traffic. (Traffic.com is one portion of this biz).

They could spin off and sell the Traffic business.

They could also spin off and sell the Map business.

Besides Microsoft, you could have Apple, and Facebook, both are large enough to be able to afford the asking price. This could cause a bidding war, except that both like Microsoft will wait until Nokia falls further down in price and market share.

While I don't know anything, there are rumors that have been swirling around for a while.

2
0

Re: Core business

Bing maps? Never used since I own an Android which they don't release software for.

So, is Bing a service of Ms or some kind of punishing other os users thing?

You know what? I own a high end Android and I still miss google maps & youtube of my Nokia symbian e71. Knowing what kind of mess it should be to support symbian, they have my respect.

Ms can't even separate a "service" from "operating system". They think people will give up Android for that windows maps thing. Believe or not, that is how their mind work.

2
1
Silver badge
Thumb Down

(the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)

If you break a horse's legs then it's not going to get very far. The pureview is the most interesting phone Nokia have released since the N9.

14
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)

Symbian was just getting good when Elop broke its legs in a memo.

Nokia then proceeded to shoot it in the head by deciding not to sell Symbian smartphones in the markets that can afford to buy large numbers of smartphones.

- Have any Symbian smartphones been offered for sale in the UK?

Given the above, rather a lot have been sold.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

It's only a matter of time...

I agree that if Microsoft "walked away" from Borg-ing - sorry, "buying" - Nokia earlier this year, it was most likely because the time wasn't yet right. Granted, it had been a year or so since Redmond's placeman at the top of Nokia metaphorically smacked a patient with a head-cold all the way into intensive care, but Nokia was still insufficiently weakened, that it could still put up a modicum of resistance to being assimilated by its new "saviour".

Eighteen months on from E-Day , and the poison is still doing its work. Give it another year or so, and what remains of Nokia should make easy pickings for MS. Don't tell me the latter isn't interested - Nokia's R&D and IP portfolio alone would make it irresistible, and even now, Nok knows how to "do hardware", in a way that most of its competitors should envy. Why should MS cough up more than it has to, when another 6-12 months may deliver it an emaciated bargain?

I still hope the PureView 808 comes to the UK - one final great handset from a once-great company. It shouldn't have to end this way.

11
1
Silver badge

Re: It's only a matter of time...

"Why should MS cough up more than it has to, when another 6-12 months may deliver it an emaciated bargain?"

Because Nokia could use their final, dying breath to dedicate all their patents and copyrights -- which are what Microsoft really want -- formally to the Public Domain. It would almost be worth it, just to see the looks on Microsoft's collective faces when they realised they had had one stuck up them .....

8
0
Bronze badge

Re: It's only a matter of time...

At the current rate NOK are bleeding cash, and their junk bond status, the chance of NOOK as we know it surviving much past Q1 2013 is slim.

Sad but true.

3
0
JC_

Re: It's only a matter of time...

Because Nokia could use their final, dying breath to dedicate all their patents and copyrights -- which are what Microsoft really want -- formally to the Public Domain.

Nokia is a public company with shareholders and it's pretty unlikely they'd go along with throwing away money; if it was your pension invested you wouldn't be happy, either.

How does stuff this silly get upvotes? The same people that loathe Elop and accuse him of destroying Nokia seem rather irrational themselves.

4
1
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: It's only a matter of time...

Maybe it's because we don't like the way that patents and IP are used by the corporate world these days.

Time was when patents were used to give the inventor time to launch something new and make money from it, but now they are used as a stick to beat your competitors with even if the patent is shaky and the IP that underlies it has no, or little, value.

I don't like the thought of Ballmer in control of fundamental IP such as that which Nokia has developed, that can only lead to trouble.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's only a matter of time...

'...and even now, Nok knows how to "do hardware", in a way that most of its competitors should envy.'

you're assuming the engineers who know how to 'do hardware' will stick around if MS buy Nokia.

That might be a dangerous assumption on both your (and MS's) part.

They'll get the IP, they'll get the R&D, I doubt they'll get the people.

Classic asset stripping operation though, well played out by MS.

1
0
Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: It's only a matter of time...

Stick around??? They have all been fired already, including several of my personal acquaintences.

1
0
Silver badge
WTF?

Ecosystem == markets??

That resolves to false in my compiler. The way I understand it, an ecosystem is a collection of developers, apps, content and users which is big enough to be self-sufficient. The market for smartphones is big enough for multiple ecosystems, so it is demonstrably not the same thing...

Maybe I did not understand what you meant.

4
0

Re: Ecosystem == markets??

You of course forget that MS is after market domination. Or have you already forgotten the "embrace, extend and extinguish?"

In their minds, ecosystem == market. As soon as they would control one established ecosystem, they would start pushing into neighboring ones, till they have them all under some control. Then they would be able to set rules, control manufacturers and limit access to the other players. Or something along the lines.

1
0

My 2p worth

Nokia is Nokia's own worst enemy. They held an amazing OS in their hands (Maemo) and decided to drop it and go to Meego, alienating people who had Maemo devices. After dropping Maemo they decided to drop Meego and go to Windows Phone 7.5, alienating people who invested in Meego (all 5 of them). You can't build a marketplace if you constantly switch around your underlying OS.

Now with Windows Phone, Nokia can't screw about with the OS, they just make the hardware and leave everything else to Microsoft, although they do add their own stuff to the marketplace.

I'm a huge fan of Windows Phone, I love the way it works, the way it looks, the way it presents information (but not the way it sucks your data allowance), it's a hell of a lot more better looking than IOS, not as tweakable as Androids UI which can display more information, but if people use WP then they will figure out that its bloody good. With Nokia using this and bringing out phones they can do what they do best, make phones, cheap mobile phones with WP, expensive phones with WP, compete in all markets.

The best bit, Nokia never really broke in to the US market, the yanks preferring to use their own companies, like Motorola over vastly superior Nokia phones, along came Apple and look, a US phone they can buy! With MS, Nokia has a US partner so should be able to get traction in the US market, something they previously couldn't do (not even with a placement in Star Trek).

The Lumia range is nice, gorgeous screen etc. so it can compete with the iPhones and Androids in it's price range and with MS as a promoter for the platform it can only be good news for Nokia.

7
3
Silver badge

Re: My 2p worth

"With MS, Nokia has a US partner so should be able to get traction in the US market, something they previously couldn't do (not even with a placement in Star Trek)."

IIRC, that ended up being driven off a cliff edge.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: My 2p worth

Oh yes, the Americans love their all American Samsung phones... oh, my mistake.

The US market is hard to break into because as a market it's totally broken with no real competition between carriers, no real way to bypass them for phone sales and public attitudes to mobile years behind the rest of the world. Having an American hardware/OS partner matters less than having an American carrier on your side. And they're agnostic about where they get their wholesale devices, beyond the problems having cell systems incompatible with the rest of the world cause. Having systems incompatible with each other they like, that just traps customers.

Also, in case you forgot, Google is an American company. If having an American partner mattered so much they might as well have gone with Google. Instead of fighting for the mass market they decided to be the biggest fish in a very small pool and wait for it to grow. Problem is they can't throw enough subsidies at users to make that happen and still survive, meanwhile Microsoft can just wait to pick off the IP.

Most of us saw this coming when Elop announced the WP strategy. Nice that Orlowski finally caught up.

3
2

Re: My 2p worth

Nokia lost it when the Maemo was "not a phone"

1
0
Silver badge

and with MS as a promoter for the platform...

all we can do is run for the hills!

1
0

Re: My 2p worth

@ Paul Shirley - Yes, Samsung isn't American but as you pointed out, Google is (Google do the OS), so it has that all important American bit stuck to it.

Yes, they went with Microsoft probably because Microsoft gave them a boat load of cash to go with them instead of Google, if there is a limit on how long Nokia have to stick with MS and not bring out an Android mobile then maybe we'll one day see Android based Nokia's also.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Microsoft haven't run the price down enough yet. Another year or two and it will be cheap enough.

4
1

Don't you forget something?

Every kind of bad news for Nokia is also bad news for Microsoft as whole industry, nerds and even common people associate them with win phone now.

I bet the market already talks about sendo etc.

1
0
Devil

best discussion on Nokia buy out

I always find Tomi's blog posts throw out some interesting perpective on Nokia and Microsoft:

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2012/06/quick-thoughts-on-nokia-as-takeover-target-samsung-facebook-microsoft-and-others.html

His theory, (which makes sense to me), is that Nokia would be of little interest to Microsoft as it stands - they already got most of what they want via a friendly face in Elop, so don't need to buy it.

Samsung might make the most sense, but I would love to see Apple sends some suits to visit Nokia. Even if they didn't buy the company (which would actually makes some sense for a complete product line including low end phones), just the resulting rumours would induce chair throwing in Seattle and help WP7 die a litle more quicker.

7
1

Re: best discussion on Nokia buy out

I agree that Nokia should try to engineer that meeting with Apple. But I'm less convinced by the idea that it would be a good thing to [sic] "help WP7 die a litle more quicker."

Whether or not you're a fan of Apple/Android it's surely in everyone's best interest that there are rival products out there. I can't think of many duopolies where you can get the best product at a bargain price.

WinPho (and BlackBerry too) may not be to everyone's taste but as long as they're viable and out there they exert an influence both on product development and the price at which it's sold. At a time when Apple and Android seem unassailable I don't think it's sensible to be wishing the competition away.

1
0

Re: best discussion on Nokia buy out

While I hate the company, Samsung's Bada os is a hidden giant sits there with amazing amount of users.

It is weird that even opera took their time to release mini for it.

Now, what if Samsung makes it licensable without Nokia's mistakes?

2
0
Stop

"a buyer for the smartphone wouldn't want the volume feature phone business."

I think this is fairly short sighted. A much cleverer strategy would be to use their near ubiquity in some markets to deliver a branded, managed app platform to emerging markets, and the low-end in the west. Within a couple of years, they could easily take back the #1 spot on sheer numbers alone if they can capture and retain that segment of the market as the entry level device shifts upwards in power.

1
0
Holmes

Eflop

Couple of significant points being bundled together there incorrectly:

"The shareholders thank Elop for his important work for stablising Nokia (the demand for Symbian in the past 12 months speaks for itself)"

Err, Elop was the massive ahole that sank Nokia's most profitable division overnight... expecting the shareholders to be thankful is like expecting my missus to be thankful cause I've stopped shagging the next door neighbour.

"Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone, simply by shifting to Windows."

And I can halve my bodywieght by chopping my legs off... not quiet the same as a diet. Nokia now produce non-differentiated, run-of-the-mill devices that clone everyone elses, even the HW production has been shifted out of the proven centres into clone-land.

Nokia has failed, the only mystery is why the remaining shareholders are still in the game at $3 a share. They'd be much better advised getting out now, there is no "climb-back". And the idea that a "crack" Windows Phone team exists in Nokia implies that someone is smoking crack. The value in Nokia is as a global trusted brand and a market share of 50+% in emerging nations, mostly on great featurephones. Just cause Nokia never figured out how to make this into a massive business doesn't mean someone else won't.

16
2
Silver badge

Re: Eflop

>The shareholders thank Elop for his important work for stablising Nokia

It didn't say which shareholders - I imagine Apple's and MSFT's are pretty happy

3
0

Nokia's problem is they have no viable market left. Their expensive Lumias are lumbered with Windows phone, which no-one wants. Their basic range (C3-01 etc) are crap. Resistive touch screens should be banned, I had to set one up for a friend and couldn't use it. Their only hope is the new Asha range, but I don't hold out much hope.

What they should do is stick ICS on the Lumia 900. Then it'd sell. It's good hardware, just no-one wants the os.

4
3
Silver badge

Basic range is not so basic anymore.

C3-01 is now nearly 2 years on the market (October 2010). A better indicator of where Nokia are going at the cheap end of the market would be the Asha 305 and 311 models.

These phones are remarkably consistently designed, and fluid and responsive in use (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp0LiStHMCw&feature=related ). When your competition is Android 2.x on constrained hardware, these look very good. There's a a lazy habit of equating "runs on Android" with "provides Android as I, the tech journalist, experience it on my €500 device" - the cheap Android phones are very far from this experience.

I have to say that killing Symbian was probably the best thing to happen to Nokia (I say this as owner of a Symbian phone, N8). For too long, the OS had been a sacred cow that hindered adoption of better technologies (like Maemo, or for that matter, like the new Asha Touch -- something that so obviously encroaches on Symbian's market would never have been allowed before). Nokia's user interface designers are second to nobody (and I include Apple here).. the problem to date has been executing these designs on a platform like Symbian, where even the smallest change request snowballed into a mass of unexpected stability issues.

Also, there's the mysterious "Meltemi". Due in October, this is expected to expose a Qt native-app API for what is now Series40 (currently S40 supports only J2ME or Web-based apps). Doing that will make things very interesting, indeed.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

This could probably have been achieved without Elop. The problem was that (I can only speak for the Symbian side of things) a delay on one phone would turn the company into Panic Mode where developers were pulled from other devices to help ship the late phone on time/not too late. That would then predictably cause the other projects to be delayed too (Development on one device I was working on stopped totally for over a year due to the state of the N8 and vavriants). I heard that before I joined Nokia that they company had never ever shipped a phone on time, but in the early days it didn't really matter due to its dominant position. I can't prove how true that is but it wouldn't surprise me.

Then there's the bureaucratic overhead of actually getting code submitted in Nokia. The tools and processes used were absolutely brutal and most sane people tried to avoid doing this altogether. All rumblings from the innards of the company about how crap it all was were continually ignored by the beancounters in Espoo. Construxt audited the processes and concluded that it would take 3 years for them to be brought up to modern standards... Nokia couldn't wait 3 years and so this was several nails in Symbian's coffin right there. It was easier to just let a company that took software development seriously do it. I hope no-one in Espoo/Tampere is struggling too much with Perforce.

I haven't worked there for a few months now... I don't know why all this still grates me so much. Rant over.

8
0
FAIL

"for a few months now..."

It will likely still irk you every time you read an article on their slow demise, for years to come. Having been there, you'll know first hand that they could've still been #1, if it wasn't for the overwhelming bureaucracy and lack of direction.

4
0

Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

I know why it grates you... it's because you know the failure was so avoidable. It grates all of us who watched the parent smother the life out of the child :(

1
0

Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

I think the child was also a bit of a brat sometimes... ASBOs all round, basically.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

"Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone"

Thats bull.

I've been to both "old Nokia" in Oulu and "new Nokia" in Chenai and Dongguan and it's not really that different. The same old problems are apparent. The only difference, is they are now making shit hardware compared to decent hardware of yesteryear, but it's they are still using the bad old processes to make them.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Elop has already halved the time it takes for Nokia to make a smartphone

I suspect that the 'halving of the time' is not the manufacturing rate, but is the design and development time.

That was easy for the Nokia 800, they just took the N9 and took out all the good bits and reduced the screen resolution to what WP7 could support.

1
0
Devil

Yahoo?

It struck me reading this that Yahoo might be the perfect buyer. They already have lots of services that could integrate - simply bring back Symbian, rebrand as "Yahoo! Mobile"... Asian markets love Yahoo already, there would be a HUGE user base out there. Yahoo would establish Symbian as a third "ecosystem" very quickly, and start on the read to profit again. Just make sure Yahoo Messenger was bundled on the phones and the jobs a good 'un.

Of course it would annoy MS enough that Yahoo would have to start providing their own search results again, but that wouldn't be a bad thing either :)

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.