Microsoft has announced that it is buying Finnish smartphone maker Nokia's Devices and Services unit for US$7.2 billion. The deal will see Microsoft take complete control of Nokia's Devices and Services unit as well as a licensing agreement to access Nokia's mapping services and patents, and the rights to the Lumia and Asha brands. Microsoft announced the news in a press release, saying:
Building on the partnership with Nokia announced in February 2011 and the increasing success of Nokia's Lumia smartphones, Microsoft aims to accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies and unified branding and marketing. For Nokia, this transaction is expected to be significantly accretive to earnings, strengthen its financial position, and provide a solid basis for future investment in its continuing businesses.
"It's a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft's share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer. "In addition to their innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, and hardware sales, marketing and distribution."
Nokia was Microsoft's primary hardware partner in its smartphone initiatives. Now with the purchase of the company's Devices and Services unit, Microsoft have complete control over the hardware and software of its handsets, much as Apple does.