When Microsoft announced that it was acquiring Nokia’s Devices division in 2013, several people expressed their disapproval. At the company, there was at least one more person who was against the idea. Company’s current CEO Satya Nadella in his new book reveals he never wanted Microsoft to purchase the Windows Phone maker.
“The press criticised the idea and the Microsoft board was resistant,” Nadella describes the tension between the period Microsoft announced its intention to purchase Nokia’s division and the company completing the acquisition.
“Over the summer, while still in negotiations to buy Nokia outright, Steve Ballmer asked the members of his leadership team, his direct reports, to vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the deal. He wanted a public vote to see where the team was on the matter. I voted no. While I respected Steve and understood the logic of growing our market share to build a credible third ecosystem, I did not get why the world needed the third ecosystem in phones, unless we changed the rules,” Nadella reveals in his book Hit Refresh, which hit shelves this week.
Having to live with the former CEO Steve Ballmer’s decision to purchase Nokia was not easy, Nadella adds, recounting how despite Nokia’s numerous efforts over the years, the company failed to gain ground in the smartphone market. Ballmer’s bet that Microsoft’s newly founded effort to push Nokia once again, Nadella writes, was not going to work.
“A few months after I became CEO, the Nokia deal closed, and our teams worked hard to relaunch Windows Phone with new devices and a new operating system that came with new experiences. But it was too late to regain the ground we had lost. We were chasing our competitors’ taillights. Months later, I would have to announce a total write-off of the acquisition as well as plans to eliminate nearly eighteen thousand jobs, the majority of them because of the Nokia devices and services acquisition. It was heartbreaking to know that so many talented people who gave so much of themselves to their work would lose their jobs,” he wrote.