Ren Zhengfei, Huawei CEO

Huawei gets brazen, says it would buy Nokia, finds Windows Phone too expensive [Update]

File this under “Did they just say that?”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Richard Yu, chairman of Huawei's consumer business group, said that the company would be open to buying Nokia to boost their smartphone sales, especially in non-Asian markets where the Chinese OEM is still facing some challenges.

Cnet interprets some of Yu's comments as suggesting that if Huawei were to buy Nokia, Windows Phone itself may be up for reconsideration. The reason is price: Windows Phone still has a license fee, whereas Android is "free". We're not confident that Huawei would do such a thing, even if they were to buy Nokia, but it's clear they don't have much faith in the Microsoft OS either.

All of this is quite fascinating, especially since Huawei is expected to release the Ascend W2 in the coming weeks, sporting Windows Phone 8. But when Microsoft's partner is saying this publicly, it's not exactly a vote of confidence:

“Whether Windows Phone [will be] successful is difficult to say – it has a very small market share. [Windows Phones] are weak but still require a licence fee. That’s not good. Android is free.”

But is Nokia selling?

Nokia Logo Lumia

Of course this the free-market and companies can’t really just buy other companies unless they are willing to be sold. Well, pretty much. First off, we should note there is zero indication that Nokia is actually looking for a suitor to buy them. While occasional rumors pop up, they are always unfounded and currently there is just no evidence that Nokia wants to sell.

That’s a problem for the evidently boisterous Huawei, since if Nokia doesn’t want to sell, it complicates things. But there is such thing as a hostile takeover, in which Huawei can bypass Nokia’s management and go right to the investors with a direct offer for purchase. While very difficult to pull off, if the investors are unhappy with Nokia’s management they could opt for the Huawei deal—especially if Huawei throws a lot of money at them, which is often how such deals work.

Unfortunately, some of Nokia’s investors are upset and have even been quite vocal about it. It’s far from clear though that they are in a majority position of have any sway over the other investors, but if Nokia doesn’t start gaining significant market share, the people holding the money could get antsy.

Would Microsoft let it happen?

Steve Ballmer Nokia

Here’s the thing: Huawei seems to be walking proudly, saying headline grabbing things like buying a company that is not up for sale and scrapping its main OS, but in reality we see little chance of that happening.

For one, we don’t think Finland, who plays a role in that company, would let a Chinese firm walk in and buy what is essentially one of that country’s prized possessions. That’s not to say they could ultimately prevent it from happening, just that things would get messy (especially once you bring in the EU into the mix).

Next up is Microsoft. While MSFT has no intention of acquiring Nokia—there’s just no value in doing so when they’re getting everything they want now—it doesn’t mean they would let their most cherished OEMs just fall into another OEM's hands. More so since Huawei hinted that they would then kill Windows Phone for Android, destroying whatever momentum Microsoft has built up in recent months.

Because of those reasons, we think Huawei is just talking. Heck, a lot of OEMs would pick up Nokia if they could—just their patent portfolio would be worth it, never mind their talented engineers and design teams. But there are quite a few insurmountable barriers, in our opinion, between Huawei’s dream and reality.

But hey, we’re sure Nokia is flattered.

What do you think?  Sound off in comments!

Update 4:45PM ET: Huawei is now claiming that they have "no plans" to buy Nokia to Reuters. It's an odd statement since technically, you can't have plans to buy a company that's not for sale anyway. To us, it sounds like Huawei is backpedaling a bit, as their desire to buy Nokia has not been challenged. They're just stating that nothing is in the works, which we already knew.

Source: Financial Times (paywall); via Cnet; Thanks, Michael M., for the tip!


Reader comments

Huawei gets brazen, says it would buy Nokia, finds Windows Phone too expensive [Update]



A tragedy. Nokia in the hands of Huawei would be equal to Palm and webOS in the hands of HP. We all know how that turned out.

He's not the one who would be selling since he doesn't own Nokia.  He would be getting fired.

I have plans to buy Microsoft, I have no money and they are not for sale but it does not bother me because I have plans.

True that. It's not up to Elop. At this point, I'm very divided about him. I love my 920 and my wife's 928. And I'm very excited about the EOS cued up....but, these lame exclusives have held back Nokia from the American market, keeping investors wary of Nokia. But perhaps the ship has finally turned, at long last. Is it enough to save him?

It will never happen. Ericsson and Nokia are and always will be communications company's and they are both highly funded by the EU. Nokia basically created the 3g standard and Ericsson basically created the 4g standard. Both of these company's are highly funded by the EU and aren't going anywhere.

Screw Huiwai, nobody is interested in them and the crap coming out of their CEO. I hope they GTFO of the WP ecosystem, nobody likes them and nobody wants them, and statements like the above are not going to make them any friends among WP fans.
I would literaly buy any other brand before I gave a cent to Huiwai.
Nokia isn't going anywhere and especialy not to a Chinese company, there is no way EU or Finland would allow it even if Nokia was open to, WHICH THEY ARE NOT.

Huawei can "Kizz My Black Azz"...
Something must be wrong wifum!
I'm not sure if I even want then supporting WP now.. Lol!

I don't know, I've been putting "African American" on applications for quite some time now.. And, im sure the police have referred to me as "a black male" once or twice, or thrice!! Lol! But, if you say I'm not "black" then I stand to be corrected..

Lol! Well, contrary to your beliefs there are "Black" people who are not as typical as you've most likely been taught the majority of us are.. But, I'm not mad at you because I run into this type of stereotypical stuff everyday.. I blame it on society, and I'm sure you mean no harm.. I actually find it quite amusing!! Nevertheless, just look at my picture dude!!.. BTW, I was raised, and still live, in Arlington, Texas... Brother!

Hey, I watched the Fresh Prince of Bell-air and Different Strokes. Lol just funin with with ya.

Damn! They don't want us acting like criminals, and hoodlums, but when we get an education, get involved in technology, and become a productive citizen, that's not good enough for them either.. Lol!! Sad thing is it's our own people who hold us down the most.. That's the south for ya!!! Oh well, we better quit talking about this stuff before Daniel bust in and breaks up our party with his digital Billy club!!! HaHahahahah..

LOL!  Speaking of unsafe practices, whenever someone tells me, "But Google (whatever) is free!"  I say, "So is herpes."  It ALWAYS shuts them up...

Plus its not really free, these companies pay ones in legal fees which the Windos Phone licenses cover.

You have to remember, most of the investors are whining cuz they're impatient and think an operating system sets up a user base in a day. I would be too so that's why when they hear that there's a possibility to make money they get giddy.

It's been 3 years, they have every right to be worried and MS is not speeding up that's actually the biggest concern.

Like I said I would be happy seeing dollar signs too, but I personally don't think it would be a good turnout for Nokia.

Wow its 2015 already? /s

But in all seriousness, how you can claim doubling market share in 8 months is "no speeding up" is beyond me.

Under Elop they've watched their stock lose over half its value. What's illogical about them being upset? They should be grateful because for a time the loss was over three-fourths?

Yeah, there's a lot of scum out there, but if ever want to start your own business someday you will find that investors are a necessary evil.

A new term needs to be phrased because most shareholders are not investors, they are gamblers,speculators, opportunists, robbers with little interest in the success of the business in which they hold stocks/shares. Very few stocks are held for dividends these days. The ROI is just too low for these 'investors' without any movement in share price, so there is general collusion in the industry with media to manipulate prices either way. The profits made by these investors do not appear from thin air, they are gleaned from losses/ reduced performance on managed investments and pension funds from every citizen in the world and from consumer price inflation.

Stocks go up and down all the time from speculation. 
But I personally would hate if this ever did materialize, but I don't see it happening right now.

NOK went up because the shareholder would be able to demand a pretty premium. Shareholders are not necessarily fans of the company...sadly. Similarly, fans of the company are not always shareholders which means we don't necessarily rule the company despite it being our collective dollars that keep cash flowing to the company. I'll call it a half shake instead of a full smh.

Huwei is a crap company with a moron CEO. They've got so many lawsuits against them from competing networking companies (like Cisco and HP, for example) that it's frightening. I know that their network switches, for example, are built on stolen old-ass, insecure versions of Cisco IOS.

Right.. It's fine, for now, that they are making WP devices, but at this rate I could NEVER see myself buying one.. Man, what are we going to do? MS/WP needs more OEM Support in a bad way.. I think im going to freek out again..

Well, just remember that Google is being sue all over for copyright infringement and also by the EU for allegedly "pushing" OEMs to ignore, cancel, or delay their plans for competing products... it won't last forever.

Not to mention that Android is free for them until they are taken to court and forced to pay a fee on each device like most other OEMs.

Non-news really. Got a little lost in what the CEO was trying to explain.

This from a company that's developmental department is a room of hackers used to steal corporate secrets and blue-prints. And I'm suppose to be shocked he wants to go the "free" route? His entire company is based off of the five finger discount.

I know, right!... Stupid iOS7,, stole my WP metro design language.. LOL.. Yeah I'm still bitchin about that..

Is it really any different to US? US monitoring is way more intense and has been going on for 20 years. It would be silly not to presume it would not have been used for competitive edge.
US feels more China than China itself. Just saying.

As a network engineer (CCNA) I asure you my department has gave up buying cisco router because huawei routers are the same in half price, even lower!!

Yes, indeed! This evil company even built that PRISM system to watch us everyone!!! Our emails, calls, all data online! It definitely is the enemy of our FREE world!

he must be dreaming or he lost his pills if he think microsoft would allow this acquisition to pass

Wow Daniel,, you really stirred up some shizznit today!! Good job!! I love WPC.. If you guys make some WPC gear we promise we will buy it all up!! And yes, I speak for EVERYONE!

I just want a few with a huge WPC logo on the front, and back!! A WPC coffee mug would suffice as well!!

Yeah we have some gear in the works....waaaay overdue on that, sorry. Just lots of working on going back here. T-shirts, mugs are on the way though.

Totally agree. In fact, Microsoft will buy Nokia before any other company since they have more at stake and more cash at hand than any other company interested in acquiring Nokia.

Same reason why Dell just did. So that they can go, create things without "noisy" investors bugging them about stock price and talking about things that they don't know about.

You also escape the analysts, since they can't look at your books anymore. Read our write up on Dell going private to better understand:

Investors are good for raising capital, obviously, but they can be a huge PITA too since now they get a seat at the table. Escaping that and going private, the company can do whatever they want.

I am pretty knowlegable guy when it comes to general stuff, but I have to admit, economics is not my cup of tea. So if a company goes back private, who then owns the company. Who comes up with all the necesassary money and why would stock holders sell back their shares to someone else who wants to own the whole company.  Another thing is how can a public company (Microsoft) own a private company (Nokia)? These 2 things don't make sense to me.

They wouldn't have to answer to investors. Investors tend to be focused on one thing, making more money year after year. As a result they often sacrifice in places they shouldn't to meet that goal. Taking the company private removes that barrier and puts the control in the hands of one person or a small group of people.

Can I be one of that small group of people with my paultry 512 shares. I'm 1000% behind WP and Nokia. I'd like to remain a part of that even if it is real small.

On another note, I don't see any reason why Microsoft wouldn't buy them directly at some point. Keep the Surface, Xbox, and Lumia brands for themselves now that they're a "devices and services" company.

Because merging companies, especially when foreign, is difficult, with a lot of red tape via the EU (and Finland). Currently there's just no benefit in MS buying Nokia--the only reason would be to keep it out of other company's hands--but that's a crappy way to buy a company.

so it would make more sense to spend billions reinventing the wheel?  Because that's what they would have to do to start making their own Windows Phones.  Let's face it if Nokia went away WIndows Phone would be dead.  No, that' makes ZERO sense.  Buy Nokia and keep WIndows Phone momentum going, or don't and start from zero again again.

They don't have to buy Nokia to release their own phones. They could just go the Nexus route, get Nokia to make a Microsoft branded phone for them.

You didn't get Daniel's point. Microsoft will only consider buying Nokia, if they see a possibility of Nokia being purchased by another company which would make it quit the 'Windows Phone'.
Btw Daniel, if it does come to that point, all microsoft has to do is buy enough Nokia shares to block a take-over; they don't HAVE to buy the whole company. Atleast that's what I would do...if i had the!! Just to make sure Nokia's creativity stays intact!!

Yeah, just look how Skype turned out, lol. But I did say "at some point," and I agree with you that it would likely be to keep it out of someone else's hands.

Thing is Nokia has as much workforce as Microsoft.
It's not a software buy, but a company with 100 000 workers, 7 factories around the globe and large global scale.

For a software company that might be a bit too much. Buying price would also be far greater than anything else MS has bought before. Nokia itself is sum of many buys, like Navteq it bought for 7.5 billion in 2008.

Nokia's stock is so low though. Wasn't Yahoo's! Stock around $24 and MS offered just tad under $40b? With Nokia's current price, I'm pretty sure it would cost waaaay less than $30b. No?

Aren't Huawei one fo the brands paying Microsoft a fee for each Android handset?  Or are they still fighting it?
That Android is free comment may come back to bite them.

Maybe their WP8 w1 and w2 are part of the deal with MS for not to sue them for Android. Like what Samsung did.

Huawei meet middle finger, middle finger meet Huawei. Now that's settled take the hint u arrogant pricks. Of course u want Nokia, ur latest phone looks like the love child of an iPhone 4 and the LG Viewty. Original, no.

Huawei would certainly love to get their hands to Nokia.
Huawei is a new company and Nokia is a old company that holds by far the largest and most expensive patent portfolio.
Not to forget half of Nokia is their network business that employees 55 000 people. Nokia is leading the LTE wave on the network side in the developed markets and in general on network side has even more dominant patent portfolio in the industry.
Though I doubt Finnish goverment would do anything to Nokia if this happened and they have openly said that (Nokia's presence is smaller and smaller), EU would likely step in on the netwok situation as the Huawei + NSN combo would be too much.
You essentially have NSN, Ericsson and the Chinese network manufacturers. Ericsson has had some slight problems recently and it would leave them alone after Nokia bought Motorolas network business as well.

Mainly the ones who complained were small shareholders and not the institutions who own the biggest stake

Can't remember quite how far back. Two sister companies, one made rubber products (mainly gumboots) and the other paper products (mainly tissue papers). IIRC.

I really hope this NEVER happens with this or any other OEMs. Because as sad as it is, if we lose Nokia the WP market share will drop to below 1% in the u.s.

Have any links for that? Looking around the web I couldn't find anything. Smart move by Microsoft if they did do that back then. 

Tom the Burger Van guy at the end of the market place also would buy Mcdonalds to go international, being local & irrelevant is so not where he likes being 

Can someone tell me how US & Japanese companies, who have been pioneers in the digital age, are all of a sudden being beat by Chinese tech companies? I'll give you my two cents. All the companies sent their secrets and blue prints to china to have their cheap labor build the product. Now, china doesn't have to spent a single penny on research and development because all the have to do is steal the blue prints that Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and HP gave them to build the product. China has never been a country known to have great talent for jaw dropping technology and all of a sudden they are a big player in the tech world. What do you guys think?

China is playing catch up by using the cheap labor to get the information. Wasn't Huawei just investigated by the US for being too chummy with the Communist Regime?

They just went over to America, said, here is some money and bought within democratic rights, companies and moved them to China. There is documentaries about China, lawfully traveling around buying companies. And that's legal....which is outrageous, but good American business in the works.

The Finish government has interfered before in the management of Nokia, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't allow the Chinese to just come over and buy Nokia (that would reflect on the Finish economy). The EU is a mess, some Governments (like mine) would gladly hand the company over to China in exchange for buckets of Euros. But other more intelligent governments (like the Finish or the German ones) would see how economically stupid allowing that would be. So, if something like this is left in the hands of the morons in Brussels, the process will take forever.
As far as I'm concerned, the day Huawei or any other Chinese company buys Nokia, I'm jumping ship. Between having a Chinese controlled company or a Japanese, I'd rather go with the Japanese. And Sony would be the obvious choice. And this has more to do with the fact that I don't trust nor support communist governments like the Chinese one. And yes, all major Chinese companies have connections with the Chinese government. The Chinese have little respect for intelectual property (or property at all), low quality standards etc. This is why I'm against Chinese companies taking over European companies. Plain and simple. I'm not bound by European politicians real politik so I can say what many others think.

But I think that will not happen anytime soon. I can see Germans buying Nokia before the Chinese are allowed to take over. Or even Microsoft. Although I personally would prefer Nokia to just remain as it is. The shareholders are unhappy, simple: adopt Android to replace Symbian and everyone's happy.

I meant Sony lol Thanks for warning me. Still, even Samsung would be a better option for me.

Cant replace Symbian its already officially been killed, I think what you mean is add Android to the current WP OS line up, adopt another OS instead of gambling everything on WP which is turning out to be a bad strategy I always though they needed tp go multiple OS route and just ramp up production for the one becoming most popular

Nokia makes great phones but I can't imagine a Nokia android phone it would have the worst lag possible with a 12 core cpu, all those apps that make are permanent in a android phone, 41 mp shooter and knowing them only having 32 GB of internal storage and no micro SD slot just to keep the phone looking good, it'll end up with 16gb of available memory. I personally think its best for them to stay where they are. What perfect example then the s4 2 quad cores, (or octo-core) still has a little lag, and 8.9 GB of usable memory. I'm not dissing nor Nokia nor android but there gonna want to be the best and that has consequence's in user experience.

It must be my birthday because this is the greatest story ever.  1000 enraged semi-coherent comments here we come!

Well, I'll add to that to the story but all that sounds like is "they have no plans" is still different than they would want to buy 'em.

I'm sure the FT got the quote right, but now it looks like Huawei is backpedaling...

Don't think a hostile take over would work, Nokia would probably be able to use white squire or white knight defense with the help of MS, especially given the fact that Huawei is talking about Android it would be in MS' interest as well to prevent the take over.

Microsoft will never let Nokia go. The Nokia name says quality, even if it is unjustified sometimes. I am a 8x owner and I love my phone, but I have to say that many customers will buy Nokia hardware rather than anything else for quality. Nokia is Microsoft's jewel. Would you let anyone take your car or phone and not do anything about it?

Wow if Huawei gonna make a move i hope Microsoft will buy Nokia, cause Huawei will kill this brand and we'll never see it shine again...

Huawei, you are nothing more than a bunch of broke ass, thieving ass, drunk azz Chinese hackers that got this far by your filthy ways. Your destiny is bleak, your demise inevitable.

Nokia is not for sale, especially not to RED CHINA. Besides they already have AMC, and may many other companies but im sorry they can't have this one. Stephen don't agree to sell, stay with the plant will work.

To be honest I think Microsoft should make Nokia be the exclusive maker of windows phone kinda like how all iPhones are apple. Just an opinion.

I kinda agree tbh, Samsung mehhh, HTC mehhh everyone else except Nokia blehhhh this would also fix some gripes too e.g Nokia exclusives on apps/games

Typical Chinese arrogance. Not being racist, my wife is Chinese. This is a guy who's company recently got caught with its hand in the espionage cookie jar, the company took a publicity hit, and he's come out flinging pooh in retaliation. He's got to sound confident so he picks on Nokia and Windows Phone because they have a small market share in an attempt to make his company look important when it is far less significant than either of them. Blustery buffoon.

A. I bought a WP because its Nokia, not because its WP..!!
B. HUAWEI, We all know how well your products do... They're yukk..!!
C. I'd buy Nokia Phones even though they were Android or MeeGo or Mozilla. Because Nokia is great at BATTERY, DURABILITY, H/W QUALITY & INDUSTRIAL DESIGN.

I bought a Nokia because its a WP. But I will admit to becomming a proud Nokia fan since investing in their product. I could not imagine owning any other brand phone now over Nokia.

I have this strange picture in my mind where Google and Huawei are sitting at the same table and Google asks "what do you need from us to buy it and then kill it?"

Huawei - google is free. Lmao is this comedy story of the day? They are probably making next to nothing in the majority of countries thanks to google. Lets see Joe Schmo goes into a phone store, he can buy a Samsung, a Nokia, an iPhone or wait no I want the throw away "pos" Huawei hmm well I know who is not coming out on top there.....go back to making your non descript, battery sucking crap Huawei and leave the real phones to the big boys.

Huawei is a much bigger name in China then Nokia so I mean even though they aren't huge all over they are huge in the largest and fastest growing market in the world...that a big deal

Nokia has no reason to sell, at least not at a low price. The reality is that you pay for what you get: companies, licenses, etc.

Waste company made me hate them even more, I BOUGHT MY PHONE BECAUSE ITS NOKIA, NOT BECAUSE ITS A WINDOWS PHONE.

I bought mine because of both reasons, actually.  I was a Samsung Focus and whatver they had that was after that user until the Nokia's came out.  I jumped on that bandwagon ASAP.  

Right, which is dumb. I have no plans to buy a Tesla either--but I would if I could. Sounds like a classic backwalk on something an executive should not have said. I think Huawei's intent is still unquestioned though.

What the hell is in your mind man?
Huawei can`t but nokia because of anti-trust laws especially, and the principal problem is "money". And you are saying that huawei can outbid microsoft in a deal? I think you should go and kill your self for this afirmation

Ass-holes like you should be shot in front of your family. What anti-trust laws you are talking about ? Money problem?? Huawei can get all the funds they need from the PRC, even Microsoft-Apple-Google combined can't outbid the PRC!!

If this shit happens, then I'm leaving Windows Phone...unless Microsoft is able to come up with a Surface Phone

This. ^^ Microsoft could do it. With the loose change found in the couches all around the MS campus. :) Buy and obliterate. :)

There's a reason "Android is free"; it's called data-mining for ads (among other unscrupulous agencies).
(And I'm not saying Google is the ONLY one doing this. But when you offer your OS "free", you get it out there en masse so as to collect even more data.)

This is just some shareholders tactic to increase price before selling. Not that anyone would like to have a thief buying Nokia. 
Huawei is nothing but a thief. They pretend to be big, but what have they innovated? NOTHING. Have you ever seen anything original or innovative devices made by Huawei? NOPE.
Go away Huawei.

if Nokia were to decide going private, could we see Microsoft step in to provide the cash and be a non-voting member of the company?

What the world needs is more Android phones, because we don't have enough as it is.
BTW there's no such thing as a cheap, high quality anything unless someone is willing to lose money.

When I used to sell metro pcs those huawei phones were the biggest piece of junk I've ever seen the worst phones for metro pcs the always lagged,froze up,etc Nokia was by far the best phones metro pcs ever had that's why when I switched I chose my l920
Because I know it would take huawei a million years to get to where Nokia is and I don't think huawei has enough money to buy nokia

Nokia is doing well and so deos Win Phone. I'm sure new exciting devices and OS improvements are coming in near future. At this point win phone market share can only go up. A lot.

They are talking like this as if they are a big player in the android community. They haven't prove anything yet.

In China yes they are big...just like Nokia isn't huge in America and other places huawei is huge in China but not many other places including America.

Well, I have a Huawei W1, and I'm quite happy with them, and WP8, but the words of buying Nokia - it was a little too much, I hope it was just a "figure of speech", bit of a show for the audience ...

Lol waiting for Nokia's to respond.. would be epic if they reject that lol :P and say we dont have any plan to use android OS..