Nokia MS Deal was all on Ballmer, Wanted HERE Maps too; Gates opposed building phones,

| March 5, 2014 | 25 Replies


Quick heads up on this story. More details unravel indicating that the deal to get Nokia’s D&S was mainly on Ballmer, who also originally pushed for HERE Maps. The deal was said to be too expensive and too complex. Gates was not in agreement that Microsoft should make their own mobile devices. Nadella, the new CEO was also against the deal but changed his side at the last minute.


Ballmer’s overly enthusiastic ways at board meetings possibly resulted in him shouting at meetings, thus leading other board members to think he was not listening leading to him being ousted as leader. The CEO may lead but the CEO alone cannot make the decisions for the whole company.

The Microsoft board, despite gaining control of WP and the majority manufacturer, seemed hesitant to get Nokia.  It lends some strength to the belief that this is partly why the Nokia brand isn’t going to MS for smartphones. Perhaps too expensive and they just didn’t want it (as opposed to Nokia holding onto it).

Further more, from the perspective of Nokia fans and those at MS at the time, they already had what they want from Nokia. But in this way, it secured MS’ future which could have swayed another direction if Nokia had deviated completely by going more into Android.

Cheers Alvester for the tip!


Category: Nokia

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    monkey boy ballmer sticks again

    • Systematic Systematic

      Two turkeys again are trying to make an eagle…?? Recently there were a threat about Lumias used by homosexuals – there is not reason to be shy, classic says: “where is true friendship there is no place for a woman”. All the best guys!

  • Muerte

    The HERE-part was reported a bit differently right after the deal:

    “A particularly strong sticking point was Nokia’s mapping business. Siilasmaa was unwavering in his belief that the business was vital for Nokia to continue as a company, and Microsoft felt similarly strongly that it couldn’t succeed in mobile without control over the location technology it was using.”

    Seems that MS wanted to buy Nokia’s mapping assets as well, but Siilasmaa (Nokia) didn’t want to sell that part, as it is vital to Nokia. So HERE (according to the “original” behind the scenes article) was not on sale at the first place, even if Microsoft wanted to buy it.

    • nn

      That was always pure nonsense from Siilasmaa. They hastily renamed Nokia Maps to HERE in November 2012, it is obvious they did it because around that time they realized they have no choice but give Nokia to MS in full and including the maps.

      • Janne

        They fought – according to numerous stories of the D&S sale – pretty hard to keep HERE out of the sale, though. If they wanted to get rid of it now, they had a chance and skipped it.

        But I don’t completely disagree with nn on the possibility of spinning off HERE. Certainly Nokia has taken steps to make their various businesses separate from the core, HERE and NSN included. Re-branding is a part of this process.

        I just disagree with the notion of some conspiracy-like long-term plan dictating everything. Everyone said Nokia was spinning off their NSN half already last year and then they bought it for themselves. Reality really isn’t as simple as some make it sound like.

        And if HERE is spun off, which is perfectly possible, there could be other buyers than Microsoft. After all, there are possibilities for HERE beyond smartphones that Nokia seems to be keen on investing in – the connected car and roads, the Internet of things as few examples.

        • Capedonut

          When reality changes, you just have to reconsider your options

          • Janne

            Yes – and NSN is a turn-around story where reality changed to support keeping it around. Reality, of course, will change many times in the future.

            Nokia is keeping its options open with HERE, but to suggest all that is in wait for Microsoft to buy HERE seems a little too simplistic for my taste.

            Reality, in all likelihood, is far more complex than that.

        • nn

          So they were preparing for spin-off and simultaneously fought hard to not offload it…

          The problem is that you are again trying to defend Elop and the board by painting them as men who are in control of the situation and are getting what they asked for. You see folks? They wanted to keep maps and they got exactly that! Beat that, Symbian!

          Except, as you can see here, Nokia’s remnants are left with maps because MS didn’t want to have them. For now.

          • capedonut

            I don’t necessary think that their actions needs to be defended. It is just realising that because of market dynamics their available options became more limited. Of course, them being in such a position in the first place is a result of many things gone wrong

          • Janne


            You are letting your mischaracterisation of myself blind you. You are reading what you want to read, not what I actually wrote.

            I doubt Elop had much to do with the HERE move. If I’m “defending” anything regarding to HERE, be it the re-branding or discussions about it with Microsoft, I’m discussing Risto Siilasmaa. Even then I wouldn’t use the word defend, anymore than I would have when I used to discuss February 11th. Again you are confusing trying to understand motives, with defending the actions.

            To me, it seems an important distinction to make: Why was HERE re-branded? To you it is proof of intent to sell to Microsoft. To me, these two things are potentially completely separate. Making a business unit an independent entity does not automatically correlate to planning to sell it to a single business partner.

            Here are some other alternatives it could be: They felt HERE didn’t have enough synergies (just like NSN) to be run under the Nokia brand. Maybe they found it hard to license the mapping under such a strong consumer brand to third-parties. Maybe it was just keeping the options open. Or maybe it was related to a future plan to off-load the D&S and thus build for HERE an identity of its own. Maybe they want to sell it to, say, Facebook or Yahoo! or whomever bids the highest.

            I’m merely countering your idea that this is all, again, some sinister Microsoft plan.

            Selling HERE to Microsoft is of course not impossible. But from what we know in the public, it seems they had a chance to do just that and chose not to. Maybe they will return to that table? Or maybe they will go on to do something completely else with HERE.

  • nn

    The maps will be transferred to MS eventually, Nokia doesn’t have the finances to support them.

    • Muerte

      Please elaborate… Without depreciations etc. HERE has been a profitable business unit for Nokia for a while already. I don’t get it, how come Nokia does not have the finances to support a profitable business unit?

      • nn

        At best Ovi/Nokia Maps/HERE is oscillating around zero in terms of profits. But the problem is they need massive amount of money to invest into it, and they also need massive amount of active users, meaning smartphone users. Without these two it will be slow death. MS will wait until they can get it almost for free like the handset unit, and then add it as another bottomless pit in their portfolio.

        • Muerte

          Again, please show me the part in the latest financial report, where you pick the “at best around zero in terms of profits” part, excluding depreciations and non-recurring item? I’m curious.

          Also, their cash is around 9 billion before the MS money, so according to my understanding they have a little bit of assets to invest into HERE as well.

          You are correct that their non-ifrs numbers will have a negative impact due to investments in 2014, but I don’t agree that HERE is to be sold just because of “lack of money”, there is no real evidence supporting that theory of yours.

          • Janne

            I think nn is correct that HERE is an investment-heavy business with very little to show real profitability during its time at Nokia. Jiipee often likes to take stabs at Halbherr for always promising the moon and never delivering.

            There is certainly truth to that angle.

            That said, I don’t buy the “lack of money” aspect, nor the idea that it is somehow earmarked for Microsoft. HERE may not be a great business, but that doesn’t mean it is inherently incapable of supporting itself – and there is very little to support the theory that they are waiting for Microsoft to buy it.

            If anything, once D&S goes any day now, Nokia certainly starts a process of distancing itself from Microsoft. It will have financially stabilized and in a process to broaden its business horizons, partners-wise. If HERE is spun off at some point in the future, and it certainly might be, there could be a number of potential buyers that can bid higher than Microsoft.

            It is very hard to see how HERE being destined for Microsoft could be supported by, at least, any public information.

          • nn

            Well, if you exclude enough inconvenient things, eventually you arrive to conclusion X is actually great business. I remember how some unnamed people here used the same logic to argue that Nokia is financially secure and stable right up until the point Elop was forced to sell the thing.

            • arts

              I guess the 9 billion is a little too inconvinient eh. 😉

              Or you know yapping like a dog about how its a super secret american takeover that only a select few can see.

              Those inconvinient fact seems to swept under the rug.

            • Janne

              Some things to consider, though:

              Elop didn’t sell D&S, Risto Siilasmaa lead that adventure. They chose to buy NSN and sell D&S. Their finances would have looked different had they not made that investment in NSN. The D&S sale even included a loan from Microsoft to pay off the expensive NSN debt, even if the D&S sale would fall through.

              Whatever any one of us calculated, none of us here ever thought Nokia would buy Siemens out of NSN. More likely it was discussed Nokia would sell their share. Obviously that billion dollar investment at a time like this changed the financial landscape.

              We’ll never quite know if Nokia could have stayed the course without NSN and returned to mobile unit profitability. Maybe the progress (or lack thereof) of Lumia and Nokia X (replenishing the fast-failing Asha) will be some indicator in coming months.

  • dss

    Maybe they can get Apple on board to replace the default apple maps on the iPhone, but its highly unlikely.

    All the android phones have a perfectly capable mapping suite called Google Maps, which is actually better than Nokia’s service here in the US.

    So who is going to be using Here maps ? Microsoft will be the biggest client by a huge margin…

    • Janne

      The likes of Yahoo!, Facebook and enterprise cloud providers might be some contenders? I believe most already use HERE, but there could be more happening there – and also these companies are potential acquirers of HERE should it come on the market. What about wearables and Internet of Things? Samsung is already going for HERE with Tizen, if that thing ever goes anywhere.

      We shall also see how Google’s initiatives with automotive fare. So far it doesn’t necessarily seem they go beyond the user’s multimedia systems, QNX and HERE are still running inside many future automotive systems beyond the fancy navigator display. Time will tell what the story is there. Will the self-driving connected car and/or the Internet of roads be an actual money-market for HERE?

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