Report: Microsoft decided against buying Nokia, for now

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.

Source: The Register; via CNET; Thanks, Shane

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • All I care is they both keep making quality products
  • Me too, the Lumia 900 is amazing, I hope to see more and more product like thid or better
  • +1
  • Love my Lumia 900. Its a beautiful piece of tech :)
  • That's all, nothing more nothing less
  • HTC don't feel like a partner. All kinds of Nokia apps and marketing. I'd be happy with Nokia being the one and only.
  • Nokia said that they would produce a unique phone for every carrier, they still have alot planned!
  • Ballmer's weird! Lol.. But he means well, and he's very smart..
  • I wish he would go away, he's too used car salesman for me. Gives Microsoft a bad image imo.
  • Balmer is a great guy keep him for a long whiles he's good
  • MS has come a long way since Steve took over. I dont know why people give him such a bad rap.
  • Yea lol
  • Or Microsoft realized that the only value in Nokia is its IP, and so it can wait for the company to finish collapsing before it buys. 
    Nokia's stock gave back all its gains once folks realized the sale wasn't happening--Barron's target price of two dollars a share looks about right, again. 
  • I'm still convinced Nokia should be the only Windows Phone manufacturer, especially since people already associate Nokia with Windows Phone. It gives Nokia and Microsoft a brand identity. The same kind of identity that Apple has.
  • I thought I was the only one who thought that.
  • I just realized after you said that, that I do associate Nokia with Windows Phone now.
  • That's exactly what I don't want. I love what Nokia is doing, but without competition within the same ecosystem then everything becomes Nokia flavoured... Which is too close to becoming like the land flavoured only with Apple. I don't want WP hardware to be limited like IOS. Apple don't allow partners which means you get exactly one choice of mobile. Some may argue that's a good thing, but what I want is WP to be hardware independent and you get the same great experience no matter what it's running on. WP was built on everyone EXCEPT Nokia until a few months ago, and it's totally unfair to throw them to the wolves just because they didn't get a fat cheque from MS.
  • Nokia should not be the only one, especially considering HTCs dedication to sound which is important
  • The absolute best thing in general about Windows is that you have a plethora of choice. Think of the PC world, can you imagine having only a few choices, ala MAC? What a HORRIBLE idea and something MS was wise to and why the deal was never really going to happen.  Windows still has a clear identity and sadly, its NOKIA is is kind of washing it away and building a NOKIA brand. I love My Samsung Focus S and I cant wait to see what the Galaxy S III Windows version is going to be like. IMO,its gonna blow the doors off of Nokia and the HTC Titan II is one amazing device, cant wait to see if we get a ONE Windows version as well.
    MS is smart to not put all their eggs into the Nokia basket...alot of consumers out there are brand loyal to HTC and Samsung and the fact that they can get a WINDOWS phone to replace their existing buggy androids without having to completely change whats familiar to them is a HUGE selling point. Not all androids are created equal and its a very good thing that Windows is the same. Once windows 8 drops, market share will increase, more oems will hop aboard, and youll start seeing package deals such as "get a lenovo windows laptop and a lenovo windows phone for the price of one". The possibilities are endless for MS and the doors are just starting to open.
    So good move, MS, dont screw your partners, because some of us dont drink Nokia Koolaid...and I would hate for you to tell me thats my only choice.
  • +1
  • Nokia should be the only partner the rest can make tablets
  • Wonder if nokia and Microsoft is eyeing on apple conference and iPhone 6?
  • Microsoft would be smarter to buy RIM.
  • Why is that? I see very little benefit to buying RIM. Certainly not the IP. And Nokia makes hardware that is at least as good as RIM.
  • Rim would be worth it for bbm and servers alone lol integrated into a Nokia ;)
  • If BBM was a real selling point, you would see many more BlackBerry phones in the wild. And Microsoft already has server infrastructure. A ton of it. I suspect that Microsoft expects Skype integration to cover whatever benefit BBM would have provided.
  • Waiting for MS-RIM alliance myself!
  • Yes RIM should do what Nokia did and switch over to Windows Phone
  • we cant blame microsoft for so into nokia is because none of the other manufacturers are doing things like what nokia doing , microsoft do not treat others as priority because other manufacturers just treat WP OS as option.
  • Nokia have been paid to behave that way, coupled with their rapidly falling market share.
  • Manufacturers like HTC, Samsung and etc they are so android still, ppl loves android because of the word FREE, HOW about a jail-break-ed Windows Phone 8? :) i believe android will be crying behind for sure..
  • Imif MSFT buys nokia, that will be the end of amazing everyday advertisements...
  • Personally, I'm at the point where I wouldn't buy any windows phone other than a Nokia. The app support and update support is a clear indication of things to come. Hardware is spectacular from Nokia and they have no option but to place all their focus on WP8. Its clear that HTC, Samsung, LG etc. feel otherwise and are focused on android.
  • I agree with you! Other manufacturers are not putting enough effort on advertisement and support/updates as nokia is. Besides that Nokia has great exclusives.. and I'm sure there are more in the way! (Still waiting for that one that measures your data usage). I'm getting mi Lumia 710 soon :D // I don't think the 800 is worth.. not a FF camera.
  • And after watching the wwdc updates for IOS6, it seems as though the door is wide open for wp8:)
  • I like that Microsoft and Nokia have a friends with benefits type of relationship. It still allows Microsoft to have a somewhat good relationship with the other OEMs. I know die-hards here associate MS & Nokia, but I think the average consumer is more of a brand loyalist. If they want a Windows Phone, and they have an EVO, they'll probably go Titan II...if they have a Galaxy S2, they'll go Focus S. So yea, sign me up for multiple oems with the same os experience across the board.
  • Until other OEMS can provide good sound enhancements like HTC does I will be staying with HTC.
  • You should check out the Nokia 808 PureView.  While the camera is the biggest marketing point for that phone, the sound technology associated with it is amazing too.!
    That tech is surely going to make its way to future Windows Phones.
  • Is it SRS
  • EU would block it.
  • Just buy all the other OEMs also.. lol.. and vizio too.. then it's just MS vs Apple..
    I know it doesn't makes sense..