The long, winding road to the Microsoft/Nokia deal
Both the New York Times and AllThingsD have blow-by-blow accounts of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) decision to pay around $7.2 billion for Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) handset business and a license to its patents and mapping software. The nine-month saga began in January in a five-minute call from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Nokia Chairman and now interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa, according to the reports, which each cited unnamed sources close to the companies. Ballmer and Siilasmaa met at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February to discuss the pros and cons of their existing partnership around Microsoft's Windows Phone software and Ballmer said the two companies could work together more efficiently if Microsoft controlled Nokia's hardware business. However, several meetings throughout the spring between executives of the two companies in New York, London and Finland failed to produce meaningful progress, according to the reports.
Then, in July, the companies resolved a key sticking point over whether Microsoft would take over Nokia's HERE maps and location services unit; the companies eventually agreed that Nokia would keep the intellectual property and the ability to licenses the HERE platform to others while Microsoft would get access the software's source code and could modify it as it saw fit. After that, talks on the deal progressed relatively smoothly and the companies reached an agreement Sept. 3, which is when it was announced.