In a generic press release, the European Commission approved Microsoft’s Acquisition of Nokia’s handset (and tablet) division. For anyone that knows most major acquisitions, the first hurdle is usually from the Department of Justice, that will review the merger or acquisition and make sure that it does not impede upon any anti-trust laws. Upon approval by the FTC and DoJ, which has already happened, the deal goes to the much more strict European Commission, their job is to essentially do the same thing as the FTC and DoJ do, but with more strict rules.
The European Commission has been known to hold up mergers and acquisitions in the past, simply to ensure that competition remains healthy and that consumers remain protected. With this second and most likely last hurdle, it will merely be a matter of weeks until the deal is sealed and considered complete. Microsoft gave a time table of the first quarter of 2014, which seems very possible now that both major hurdles have been overcome. What will be the most interesting thing to see is how Nokia handles themselves at CES and how much of what we see at CES will actually happen once Microsoft takes hold of the reins.
Interestingly enough, Tomi Ahonen called the merger happening back in 2011 and even more so, may have even pegged the exact market share that Windows Phone/Nokia will have in Smartphones in 2013. As of right now, before the conclusion of 2013, Windows Phone currently holds a market share of 3.6% and shipments of 9.5 million per quarter. So, Tomi was off in terms of total units shipped, but his 8% maximum market share estimate two years ago stands true. However, I do not believe Tomi anticipated Android to grow to such large volumes that it would negatively affect Windows Phone’s overall global share.
In addition to that, people need to consider the effect that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia will have upon the open source community, as mentioned by Marcus Pollice about Qt. Microsoft is not a company that is open source, they have succeeded in the way they do things because of their business model. Sure, Microsoft is trying harder to be more open source as is evident by an entire website dedicated to how open source Microsoft is trying to be. Nokia has a much longer history of being an open source company and pushing such initiatives, and unfortunately, I think a lot of that will get brushed under the rug at Microsoft. Although, Stephen Elop did a pretty good job of getting rid of the majority of the open source things at Nokia before he prepared them for the purchase by Microsoft.