From burning platform to fire sale: but Nokia is still on the shelf

Jun 21, 2013

In the event it seems that MS couldn't see its way clear to valuing Nokia highly enough to satisfy the Nokia shareholders - which is highly ironic since Nokia has staked its future on Microsoft's Windows Phone OS so MS might be said to be placing an inadequate forward value on its own product and on its ability to get the platform off the floor, out of the shops and into users' hands. If IT doesn't fancy Nokia's chances, why should anyone else?

Things certainly look grim. Windows Phone currently owns not much more than 3 per cent of the global smartphone market and Nokia is currently selling about 80 per cent of them as other Windows Phone licensees - such as Samsung - continue to put their weight behind arch-rival Google and its Android OS.

So in the end whatever MS was tentatively putting on the table was an offer that could be refused and the two companies will - at least for the time-being - remain separate.

What sort of numbers were being bandied about? The WSJ observes that on its current valuation Nokia is worth about US$14 billion and it generated about half its total revenue (it does lots of other things apart from phones) of US$40 billion or so from the mobile phone business.

That Nokia/MS relationship was always going to be a messy one. As we and many others have long pointed out, Stephen Elop, as an ex-Microsoftie, was always going to be on dodgy ground formulating a deal between his new and old employers.

Is he a Microsoft plant? it was asked. Is he going to run the company into the ground by doing Microsoft's bidding and then hand whatever remains over to Mr Ballmer?

Surely not? Whether intended or not it now looks like the famous Nokia "burning platform" wasn't extinguished quickly enough as we've now had an attempted fire sale.

What can Elop do next? Answers on a matchbox.

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