clear
Wednesday May 25th, 2016 4:58PM

Nokia stock surges on Microsoft takeover

By The Associated Press
HELSINKI (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is buying Nokia Corp.'s line-up of smartphones and a portfolio of patents and services in an attempt to strengthen its fight with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to capture a slice of the lucrative mobile computing market.

The 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) deal announced late Monday marks a major step in the company's push to transform itself from a software maker focused on making operating systems and applications for desktop and laptop computers into a more versatile and nimble company that delivers services on any kind of Internet-connected gadget.

"It's a bold step into the future - a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies," Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer told reporters at Nokia's headquarters in Finland Tuesday. "It's a signature event."

Microsoft hopes to complete the deal early next year. If that timetable pans out, about 32,000 Nokia employees will transfer to Microsoft, which currently has about 99,000 workers.

The proposed price consists of 3.79 billion euros ($5 billion) for the Nokia unit that makes mobile phones, including its line of Lumia smartphones that run Windows Phone software. Another 1.65 billion euros ($2.2 billion) will be paid for a 10-year license to use Nokia's patents, with the option to extend it indefinitely.

Investors in Nokia welcomed the deal, sending shares in the company up some 40 percent to 4.12 euros in Helsinki.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., has been racing to catch up with customers who are increasingly pursuing their digital lives on smartphones and tablet computers rather than the traditional PCs. The shift is weakening Microsoft, which has dominated the PC software market for the past 30 years, and empowering Apple, the maker of the trend-setting iPhone and iPad, and Google, which gives away the world's most popular mobile operating system, Android.

Nokia, based in Espoo, near the Finnish capital, and Microsoft have been trying to make inroads in the smartphone market as part of a partnership forged in 2011. Under the alliance, Nokia's Lumia smartphones have run on Microsoft's Windows software, but those devices haven't managed to compete with iPhone or an array of Android-powered devices spearheaded by Samsung Electronics' smartphones and tablets

Microsoft is betting it will have a better chance of narrowing the gap if it seizes complete control over how the mobile devices work with its Windows software.

Despite the dismal performance of Windows phones - 7.4 million units in the second quarter compared to Apple's 31 million and 187 million Android phones, according to research company IDC - Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer was upbeat about the partnership with Nokia, saying he was encouraged by a growth of 78 percent in Lumia phone sales in a year.

"Now is the time to build on this momentum and accelerate it further," Ballmer said Tuesday. "Finland will become the hub and center for our phone R&D and we are counting very much on the incredible talent of Nokia employees to be a key part of driving and propelling Microsoft forward."

Ballmer said that Microsoft will invest more than $250 million in a new data center to serve European consumers.

Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics said the move was good for Nokia's shareholders but did not change much for the ailing Finnish firm which has lost significant market share.

"Nokia is still heavily dependent on Microsoft's software capabilities and Microsoft continues to lag the market like it has done in the last few years," Mawston said. "Not much will change whether Nokia is inside or outside the Microsoft portfolio."

The acquisition is being made at the same time that Microsoft is looking for a new leader. Just 10 days ago, Ballmer, 57, announced he will relinquish the CEO reins within the next year in a move that many analysts regarded as Microsoft's tacit admission that the company needed an infusion of fresh blood to revitalize itself.

Nokia said that Stephen Elop will step down as president and CEO of the company with board chairman Risto Siilasmaa taking over his duties as an interim CEO.

The deal has fueled speculation that Elop, a former Microsoft executive, will emerge as a top candidate to succeed Ballmer. He will become executive vice president of Nokia devices and services in preparation for joining Microsoft once the acquisition closes

The deal with Nokia represents the second most expensive acquisition in Microsoft's 38-year history, ranking behind an $8.5 billion purchase of Internet calling and video conferencing service Skype. Tony Bates, who ran Skype, is also regarded as a potential successor to Ballmer.

The money to buy Nokia's smartphones and patents will be drawn from the nearly $70 billion that Microsoft held in overseas accounts as of June 30.

Microsoft expansion into mobile devices hasn't fared well so far. Last year, the company began selling a line of tablets called Surface in hopes of undercutting Apple's iPad. The version of Surface running on a revamped version of Microsoft's Windows operating system fared so poorly that the company absorbed a $900 million charge in its last quarter to account for the flop.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 2 years ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 2 years ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 5 days ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 6 days ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )