Microsoft is set to move into the mobile market in a big way, snapping up Nokia's smartphone business for the hefty sum of €5.4 billion.
After one of the most protracted courtships in tech history, Microsoft has picked up Nokia’s Devices & Services business – including the Mobile Phones and Smart Devices business units that handle the Asha and Lumia lines respectively.
Microsoft will license the Nokia brand for existing products, and will retain Nokia's Asha brand - used for low-cost devices in emerging markets – although the licensing deal doesn't include the Lumia brand.
Microsoft will also be licensing Nokia's HERE mapping service for four years – Microsoft is already using Nokia backend services for Traffic and Geocoding, but expect to see tighter integration of HERE maps into Bing Maps.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will be stepping down and taking a position as Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices & Services. As the deal nears completion around the first quarter of 2014, Elop, along with other Nokia execs, will transfer over to Microsoft.
Expect more details of the announcement in coming months – we're waiting with bated breath to find out what Microsoft will be doing with its new acquisition. Hopefully the first fruits of the union will be better than the Microsoft Kin phones.
[Source: Microsoft Press]