Finland’s largest newspaper published an interesting news article on Nokia yesterday. Amidst all of the ‘Microsoft buying Nokia rumours’, the Helsingin Sanomat ran an editorial that talks about Nokia being sold off in parts. The editorial beats Nokia down pretty good and it’s a very quick ‘left turn’ from the largely positive sentiment surrounding Nokia lately.
One can’t help but wonder why this article is appearing in Finland’s most influential newspaper right now.
To start with, the opening line of the article says: "...big changes [at Nokia] are inevitable because the company cannot continue to spend the shareholder’s money". A very bold statement that seems totally out of place given the fact that the Nokia-Microsoft partnership has always been a long term play – it’s taken longer than expected, but things are finally looking up for Nokia and Windows Phone.
The article goes on to discuss the ‘breakup’ options for each of the four most important parts of the company, including noting that feature phone handsets are a dead end, how Siemens could leave the Nokia-Siemens Network partnership (something which is looking more like a reality from this week’s news) and finally the strong market value of their HERE mapping and geolocation assets.
But here’s where the article gets interesting again:
When discussing the options for the smartphone division, the author of the article writes: “Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the Microsoft-Nokia cooperation deal was for 5 years and that there are financial penalties for breaking the deal.” (presumably the penalties apply to both companies – the article doesn’t say).
We've actually known about the "five year plan" since its inception, but now it may come back to haunt both companies if Nokia can't turn things around.
Nokia is on ‘Microsoft lockdown’ until 2016
The Helsingin Sanomat is a well-respected newspaper and I think we finally have the answer to how long the Microsoft-Nokia partnership lasts. Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder about the timing of an article that talks about the breakup of one of Finland’s prized possessions. Is the Finnish public being softened up for a big announcement sometime in the near future? Will Nokia be sold?
Source: Helsingin Sanomat