Microsoft buys Nokia

London-based media company The Church of London was approached by Microsoft in late 2013. They were tasked with crafting a brand book for Nokia and Microsoft employees in celebration of the recent acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services division. The book itself contains archived photography as well as some original illustrations throughout. The end result is a colourful presentation of ideas and values shared by both parties.

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Microsoft’s acquisition of the Nokia handset division is now complete from a regulatory perspective, but there are lots of questions on the table regarding branding and proper names. For instance, the new name of the former-Nokia division in Microsoft is Microsoft Mobile (the ‘Oy’ just means ‘Ltd.’).

But what about the name Nokia on Lumia phones?

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Nokia sale to Microsoft expected to close on April 25

It was nearly eight months ago that Microsoft and Nokia announced a deal to sell Nokia's Devices and Services unit to Microsoft for €5.44 billion (US$7.3 billion), and this week that deal is finally going to close. Friday, April 25th, will see Nokia Devices and Services transferred to Microsoft and renamed as Microsoft Mobile Oy.

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Nokia Oyj, the Finnish manufacturer's devices and services division will become Microsoft Mobile Oy, Redmond's new mobile devices and services division, once the Microsoft-Nokia deal goes through. Microsoft already has its own, larger devices and services organization, of course, but with Nokia's phone business getting merged in, the components that support that business will have to be merged in as well. Nokia has reportedly sent a letter to their suppliers to address just that matter.

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Concerns over Microsoft's purchase of Nokia have been highlighted in some regions, including China and Korea. The former country has since approved the deal with the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China giving the green light. While the deal itself has been subject to regulatory and other customary approvals, some competitors have voiced concerns over the strengthening position Microsoft will have patents-wise.

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Nokia and Microsoft both expect the acquisition of Nokia's handset unit to close in April. The two companies sent out their own press releases moments ago announcing an update on the acquisition. The regulatory process is expected to close sometime during next month. As we previously reported, the two companies had hoped to finish the deal sometime before mid-April. However, rulings in India and regulatory pause by Asian parties over potential patent abuse slowed the process.

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Nokia, BMW, IBM, Vodafone, and Royal Dutch Shell are just a few of the multinational companies caught up in tax battles with the Indian government. A few days ago we learned that an Indian Supreme Court ruled that Nokia must deposit $571 million into an escrow account before it can transfer a key manufacturing plant to Microsoft.

As you know, Microsoft is trying to finalize its deal to acquire Nokia’s phone unit for $7.3 billion. Microsoft and Nokia hope to finish the deal before the month ends. However, the Indian government is making things a little tricky for the two companies.

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There are a few hurdles left for Microsoft to clear they can acquire Nokia’s handset unit. Recently we’ve seen some complaints from Korean companies and interest groups over potential patent abuse that could result from the deal. One little tangle in Microsoft and Nokia’s plans revolves around a manufacturing plant in Chennai, India currently involved in a legal battle with the Indian government. The plant is to be transferred to Microsoft as part of the $7.3 billion USD deal to acquire Nokia’s phone business. However, that manufacturing plant may now be shut down and not transferred to Microsoft. 

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Microsoft announced plans to purchase Nokia last year and the deal has gone through numerous checks, but reports now state we could be looking at just a month wait for the two companies to finalize everything. The deal will see Microsoft absorb Nokia's hardware division. Essentially, Microsoft will be taking over development of Lumia Windows Phones with the same teams that make the devices we enjoy using today.

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Microsoft has a few hurdles to jump before it can finalize the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division. The biggest hurdle? Regulatory approval in China. As we reported a few days ago, Samsung and Google have expressed concern to the Chinese government over potential higher patent fees from the Microsoft-Nokia deal. Turns out Korea smartphone manufactures and the Korean government aren’t too keen on the idea either.

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Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a fascinating article today on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Microsoft on the Nokia devices acquisition. The four page article is mostly about how CEO Nadella is putting things back together, and asserting his vision, but there are some enthralling tidbits too about how the Nokia deal came to be.

In the report, it’s revealed that the original deal included Nokia’s HERE Maps in addition to Nokia’s hardware division. That’s interesting, if only because many arm-chair CEOs have suggested that Microsoft should just buy everything from Nokia. The Microsoft board, however, disagreed. The main complaint? The deal was “too expensive and complex” and the mapping division was not even needed (between Bing Maps and licensing, it’s not clear why Microsoft needs to own HERE Maps).

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Google and Samsung have joined Chinese mobile phone manufacturers in expressing concerns to Chinese courts about Microsoft's purchase of Nokia. Redmond is set to absorb Nokia's phone business for 7.2 billion dollars, integrating the division responsible for Lumia, Asha and X device families. The reasons behind this move are fears that the deal will result in higher patent licensing costs.

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The Delhi High Court in India has finally allowed Nokia India to sell its Chennai manufacturing unit to Microsoft. If the court had ruled otherwise, Nokia may have had to exclude Indian assets from the acquisition deal, forcing the closure of the factory.

Set up in 2006, the Chennai factory is one of their largest manufacturing units employing 5800 people and producing 200 million phones a year.

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Do you want a Nokia device running Android? According to The Verge, Nokia has been building it under the code name, Normandy. It runs a forked version of Android on some really low-end hardware similar to what Amazon does with the Kindle Fire.

The Verge’s sources say:

Normandy is designed as an Asha equivalent to push low-cost devices with access to more traditional smartphone apps — something the company has struggled to achieve for its Series 40-powered Asha line.

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Companies like IBM, Vodafone, BMW, Royal Dutch Shell, and Nokia are currently fighting unpaid tax claims in India’s court system. Out of all the companies, Nokia’s tax woes recently took a turn for the worse. Indian tax authorities believe that Nokia’s tax bill should be $3.4 billion, which is quite an increase from the previously stated figure of $340 million.

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It was just two days ago the U.S. Department of Justice gave the green light for the Microsoft-Nokia deal. As you recall, Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Nokia’s handset division for 7.2 billion dollars. As part of the deal, they’ll also license Nokia patents. One of the remaining hurdles was whether or not the European Commission would allow the sale. The European Commission has now cleared the deal in a press release that just went out. Details below.

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Microsoft has jumped another hurdle in their $7 billion dollar acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services unit, as the U.S. Department of Justice has given the all clear to the deal.

Dated November 29th, but released today due to the holiday, the DoJ document was posted on the FTC website. All of the relevant Nokia divisions and subsidiaries were listed with a ‘G’ for ‘granted’ as the deal was unconditionally approved by the US government. That decision comes after Nokia shareholders sanctioned the transaction on November 19 with overwhelming confidence, marking a significant milestone in the massive deal.

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