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Bill Gates Did Not Agree With Microsoft Plans to Buy Nokia's Handset Division

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The board at Microsoft was split over the decision to buy Nokia, a new report has claimed, with the deal being pushed through by an increasingly angry Steve Ballmer. Even Bill Gates was said to have been concerned about the deal.

Ballmer wanted to buy not just Nokia's handset division, but also its mapping services, which would have left Nokia as basically an infrastructure vendor alone. However, in reportedly angry exchanges with the board at Microsoft he agreed to offer just to buy the handset company.

Microsoft's new CEO, Staya Nadella was also reportedly cool on the deal, but is now fully behind the plan.

"Nokia brings mobile-first depth across hardware, software, design, global supply chain expertise and deep understanding and connections across the mobile market," Nadella told Bloomberg News in an e-mailed statement. "This is the right move for Microsoft."

The dispute between Ballmer and the rest of the board could have resulted in his ouster from the company, had he not offered to retire anyway.

The main concerns stemmed from the complexity of the Nokia division, and the price being offered, which was described as excessive for a company with shrinking market share. That its market share might be in part the fault of the Windows Phone OS was not commented on.

The other insight is that Microsoft also wanted Nokia's mapping division. What is not clear is whether Nokia was keen to sell, or if Ballmer was keener to buy the mapping service than Nokia was to sell it.

Microsoft is now close to completing the legal processes in its $7.2 billion purchase, of just the handset business.

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: nokia  microsoft