AMITIAE - Tuesday 3 September 2013

Cassandra: Microsoft to Take Over Nokia - Elop to be CEO?

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

Rumours appearing Tuesday morning here suggest that Microsoft may be about to buy Nokia. This could lead to some interesting knock-on effects, including the positioning of Stephen Elop as a replacement for Microsoft's current CEO, Steve Ballmer.

Nokia has been in trouble for a number of years and the previous regimes there were blamed for a number of the company's problems. Like Blackberry and now HTC, however, who also saw major declines since the arrival of the iPhone, the descent may have been inevitable with the complacency that was displayed. Once the problems start, customers are driven away, perhaps never to return.

With the arrival of Stephen Elop, things went from bad to worse, although the public face tried not to show this. Killing Symbian and moving to a Windows OS, had some aghast, especially when it was revealed that Redmond was subsidizing Nokia by a considerable amount. Elop was showing unusual loyalty to Microsoft, some suggested, even though he was no longer with the company. Was this a softening up for an eventual takeover?

More recently there was the announcement that Steve Ballmer was finally to leave Microsoft - pushed perhaps after the unprecedented write-off of almost $1 billion following the attempt to make an iPad competitor: the straw that broke the camel's back. Speculation began concerning the eventual replacement, with names like Steve Sinofsky, Scott Forstall, Jony Ive and even Tim Cook (100:1) appearing in the odds. Also mentioned were Bill Gates and Stephen Elop

If we cast our minds back to the failing Apple of the late 1990s and the way that Gil Amelio orchestrated the take-over of NeXT, thus bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple via the back door, the possibility that Microsoft is considering the (perhaps overdue) merging/takeover of Nokia, will add fuel to the speculation that as well as finally owning Nokia onto which it could graft its own mobile phone solutions, the door is also open to bringing in Elop who has a good Microsoft background and the experience of running a large corporation.

Whether this all pans out will become clearer in the next weeks and months. I hate to include a question mark in a title, but this is so speculative that it is necessary.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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