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Microsoft's Nokia acquisition a deal it had to make

Tom Kaneshige | Sept. 4, 2013
Microsoft had to make a move in the mobile market, and it made a big one acquiring the smartphone business of Nokia. As a bonus, Microsoft may have also bought its next CEO.

Bonus: Microsoft Gets Top Exec and CEO Candidate
One of the keys to success will be Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who will be giving up the mantle to interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa to run what's left of Nokia, now a shadow of its former self. Elop will become Microsoft's executive vice president of devices and services.

"Microsoft typically doesn't do mergers well, and this is a large one," says tech analyst Rob Enderle. "However, Elop knows the ropes and likely helped orchestrate [the deal] in order to fix the rift between hardware and software that was adversely affecting his execution."

Elop's arrival in Redmond also signals a potentially larger role in the making. Late last month, Ballmer announced he would be retiring as soon as Microsoft finds a replacement, and the Nokia deal puts Elop on the short list for the top spot.

"Even if he doesn't get that, he will be in a strong position to protect Nokia, so I think this is an improvement over what they had," Enderle says. "Unless Elop leaves, which is doubtful given Ballmer's departure, this one should improve Microsoft's position sharply."


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