This is one of the saddest stories in the mobile industry. Today Nokia's handset unit is gone.
Microsoft has just bought Nokia's total handset unit - not just smartphones but also dumbphones - and the Nokia services business (of what is left of it) and gets it all for a paltry 5.3 Billion Euros. Truly catastrophic. Just before Elop announced his mad Microsoft strategy, in the last quarter of 2010, Nokia's handset unit - this which was now sold - produced revenues of .. 8.35 Billion Euros - and did this very profitably! For the full year 2010, Nokia's handset unit generated 27 Billion Euros of revenues and 3.5 Billion Euros of profits!!! Elop wrecked all that in two and a half years and now the loss-making unit is sold for less than its scrap value.
What remains of Nokia, it is now back to its roots as a network equipment provider (NokiaSiemens Networks, that kind of business) competing with Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent and the Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE.
What becomes of Microsoft? It now is a handset maker. Its Windows Phone gets a new lease-of-life (certainly by now Nokia internally must have wanted to shift away from the dead platform). But the last remaining Windows Phone partners no doubt will further diminish their efforts so Windows Phone will become purely a Microsoft handset OS. I predict that Windows Phone under Microsoft ownership will sell less phones (by market share) than it managed when independent companies such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others made Windows Phone devices. There is a reason why it is failing, and the reason was not Nokia design devices, it was the dislike of Microsoft and its ways of doing business.
Microsoft does gain the dumbphone unit of Nokia to plunder now, and attempt to convert into Windows Phone devices. Good luck with that, it goes totally against Windows history and competence, trying to create something very slim and streamlined and cheap to sell to Emerging World markets where free rivals are popular from Linux on PCs to Android obviously on handsets. Expect this share to continue to diminish over time, as the past Nokia-ness of the Microsoft handset unit becomes ever more 'Microsoftian'. With Elop in chrage of that unit at Microsoft, expect the damage to continue and this unit to be a failure at Microsoft in the long run.
The good news is that Elop is gone in that process, he shifts back to Microsoft. I will return with my epilogue or perhaps a few blogs about this a bit later, I am about to board a plane now. I'll digest the news and blog an update when I arrive at my hotel tonight.
PS - I might have to write that book..