Microsoft outlines plans for Nokia unit, skepticism abounds

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

A Steve Ballmer e-mail and a company presentation go over Microsoft's (MSFT -6%) plans for Nokia's (NOK +31.3%) phone unit.

Stephen Elop, now more than ever viewed as a possible Ballmer replacement, will head an "expanded Devices team" that will include "all of [Microsoft's] current Devices and Studios work and most of the teams coming over from Nokia.

Julie Larson-Green, who was recently put in charge of Devices & Studios' engineering and content work, will join Elop's team once the deal closes.

Key Nokia engineering/design execs will report to Elop. But Nokia's sales team, led by Chris Weber, will ultimately report to COO Kevin Turner. Also, "all global marketing" will be run by Microsoft's Tami Reller and Mark Penn. There are "no major plans" to move Nokia teams to different geographies.

Microsoft predicts the purchase will hurt FY14 EPS by $0.08, be neutral to FY15 EPS, and accretive to FY16 EPS by $0.08. Much, of course, depends on how future hardware launches are received.

Microsoft is acquiring 8.5K Nokia design patents. Nokia's 30K utility patents/applications are being licensed. Elop insists Microsoft isn't abandoning Nokia's declining feature phone ops, calling them "an on-ramp to Windows Phone."

Like others on the Street, Deutsche is unconvinced about the deal's merits. "We do not see this deal offering anything incremental to MSFT that it did not have as part of its partnership with NOK."

Ben Thompson: "Today no one cares about Nokia’s industrial design, distribution, or supply chain, because their devices lack an app ecosystem, the price of entry into smartphones ... I theorize that Nokia was either going to switch to Android or was on the verge of going bankrupt."

GigaOm's Kevin C. Tofel: "Let’s get real: Nobody will license Windows Phone or Windows RT now."

Horace Dediu isn't quite as critical, arguing Nokia's mobile hardware "processes" and "priorities" could make the deal worthwhile even if its "resources" don't.

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