Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith also revealed some additional agreements hammered out in the months since the acquisition’s announcement. Most revolve around behind-the-scenes personnel and manufacturing details, but of particular note is that Microsoft will handle the nokia.com website and Nokia’s social media presence for up to a year, despite the fact that the rest of Nokia is carrying on as a separate company.
Stephen Elop, the Nokia CEO who arrived at the company by way of Microsoft, will return to the Redmond company as part of the deal, where he will assume control of Microsoft’s hardware division. He’s just one of approximately 32,000 Nokia employees making the jump to Microsoft.
While both Nokia’s Lumia line and Windows Phone as a platform have struggled to compete with the dual Android/Apple mobile juggernaut, Microsoft has said that phones are the key to everything in today’s tightly controlled ecosystems. While we’re skeptical that buying Nokia will pay off for Windows Phone’s prospects, the hard-won lessons that the intensely consumer-focused Nokia can teach Microsoft could help transform the business that Bill Gates built into something great again, one Nokia phone at a time.
Windows Phone itself is on the upswing right now, at least in the hearts and minds of developers, if not everyday users. At its recent Build conference, Microsoft announced a trio of announcements designed to drive a jolt of energy into its mobile ecosystem, starting with the vastly improved Windows 8.1 update, which adds a much-needed notification center and Cortana, the surprisingly useful digital assistant. Between those and the numerous other features baked into the update, Windows Phone is finally a full-fledged OS capable of taking on Android and iPhone—at least as far as the core experience is concerned. In other words, Windows Phone 8.1 finally provides a level of software polished enough to match well with Nokia’s impeccable hardware designs.