Bloomberg: Ballmer pushed for Nokia deal; Gates, Nadella initially opposed

Sources tell Bloomberg Steve Ballmer "shouted at a June meeting" that if Microsoft's (MSFT -1.1%) board didn't back his plans to acquire Nokia's phone and mapping units, he could no longer be CEO.

Bill Gates and new CEO Satya Nadella initially opposed the Nokia deal, as did the departing Tony Bates. Nadella later relented; Bates didn't. Though Ballmer mostly got his way - the final deal didn't include the mapping unit - Bloomberg states his antics were "the last straw" for some directors.

The news service also states Alan Mulally's ego "got in the way" of his CEO candidacy. Though the Ford CEO expressed interest in running Microsoft, he refused to formally interview.

With Gates and other directors deciding a CEO with a tech background was needed, and many candidates (inc. Mulally) worried about Gates/Ballmer's continued influence, Nadella eventually got the job.

Microsoft's shares tumbled the day after the Nokia deal was announced. Nokia's phone unit saw a 29% Y/Y sales drop in Q4, as plunging feature phone sales more than offset Lumia growth.

During a recent talk, Ballmer said his biggest mobile regret is that Microsoft didn't offer integrated hardware/software solutions earlier. The remarks come shortly after Google, provider of the world's dominant mobile OS in terms of unit share, struck a deal to sell its phone unit.

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Comments (12)
  • leopardtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (3794) | Send Message
    Would have been an unforgivable mistake to hire Alan who has zero tech background to run a savvy technology behemoth. MSFT is not Ford or Walmart lol What is sold here is intellectual property not cars or biscuits. Besides why not lend to being interviewed ? Maybe he Jesus the savior
    5 Mar 2014, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • SeanV67
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Alan Mulally doesn't have a pilot's license or military background, however he brought Boeing up and helped streamline that company & it's business model. Kept Ford in the money during the downturn. He has good business sense to keep companies in the green.


    That's a resume that I'd support him not doing some interview - that seemed a bit dumb given his business reputation to have him do one to get the job. Maybe "interview" is out of context, maybe not but given his success, a stroll around MSFT campus invitation would have been better to make the offer instead of insulting the man with "an interview."
    5 Mar 2014, 04:16 PM Reply Like
  • Derek A. Barrett
    , contributor
    Comments (3554) | Send Message
    Does managing the most complicated weapons systems in the world count as zero tech background?


    Which product set do you think is more complicated, the pilotless Little Bird and ICBM's, or Microsoft Excel and Paint?


    Microsoft's products are technically a cake walk compared to those at Boeing.
    5 Mar 2014, 06:14 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (5268) | Send Message
    Couldn't have been worse than the status quo with Ballmer.
    6 Mar 2014, 12:39 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (10638) | Send Message
    Gates and crowd have gotten lazy! Lost interest in Microsoft. More interested in charity. We need people who are hungry running companies. Think MSFT is back on track.
    5 Mar 2014, 02:11 PM Reply Like
  • 10385171
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
    Ballmer is a visionless stupid lost soul.
    5 Mar 2014, 02:57 PM Reply Like
  • Seppo Sahrakorpi
    , contributor
    Comments (2146) | Send Message
    Thanks for the insight!
    5 Mar 2014, 03:15 PM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2367) | Send Message
    But yet they reported the best quarter ever in the company's history
    5 Mar 2014, 05:49 PM Reply Like
  • awakeinwa
    , contributor
    Comments (693) | Send Message
    it's like congratulating a D student for reach a new personal best score. not a prudent investor metric
    6 Mar 2014, 01:50 AM Reply Like
  • awakeinwa
    , contributor
    Comments (693) | Send Message
    The new CEO isn't much better. That he fired Bates and promoted Mark Penn Chief Strategy Officer from advertising consultant, the same Penn who led and drove Hillary Clinton's campaign into the ground replete with backstabbing, and recently the man who came up with the "Scroogled" ad campaign running negative ads like it was political season running against hard core tea party that is now apparently Google doesn't bode well for the future of the company. I give it another 2 years.


    With 11 years at MSFT, I can safely say the dysfunction in Redmond will only get even worse with Penn "strategizing". That this new "tech" CEO would let such a tool lead the "new Microsoft" demonstrate more old is new again. Mark my words.
    6 Mar 2014, 01:47 AM Reply Like
  • psychological-dividends
    , contributor
    Comments (820) | Send Message
    I've noticed that many cost-conscious consumers here and the developing world are choosing Windows Phone. The classic Microsoft "economy" strategy does live on.
    6 Mar 2014, 03:56 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (5268) | Send Message
    Economy? You can find cheap android phones too.


    The only one that doesn't participate in that strategy is AAPL, and they are losing marketshare thanks in part to that.
    6 Mar 2014, 09:06 AM Reply Like
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