Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer considers buying Nokia. "Kinda want"
Rumors are flying around today, notably from the Register who has it on good account, that Microsoft did seriously consider buying Nokia but decided against the deal once the Finnish firms' books were opened.
If the story is accurate, it represents an interesting twist on the partnership and may still leave a cold feeling for Microsoft's other OEMs. The Register cites "well placed sources" for the story so we'll have to take their word (and their sources) on the matter but Microsoft reportedly was "unimpressed" with Nokia's numbers--or at least didn't see the added extra value of buying the company versus just partnering with them.
As the Register puts it: Nokia didn't want to sell and Microsoft really didn't want to buy. The only reason for an acquisition would have been to keep Nokia out of someone else's hands due to their IP and engineering value. But both companies have time yet--Microsoft has Windows Phone 8 to launch and Nokia needs still has cash to burn. In other words, Microsoft is there as a golden parachute should Nokia really start to crash by next year. Not only that, should such a scenario happen Microsoft would actually get a better deal due to the de-valued stock.
From our perspective as consumers, we don't see the value had Microsoft decided to go forward. Buying a company, integrating different corporate cultures and alienating your partner OEMs, notably HTC, seems like something that could have backfired. Not to mention, it's not clear what would be different from today as it appears Microsoft is getting all that it wants already from Nokia.
We think there's little doubt that both companies have explored numerous options going forward--that shouldn't be a surprise. But we would rather return to this ongoing rumor late in 2012/early 2013 to see how Windows phone 8 is doing.