After a strong partnership of two years, Microsoft has decided that buying Nokia outright would probably be a good idea. The Redmond giant today announced that it will acquire Nokia’s Devices and Services division for $7.1 billion, tying the Finnish company to work in-house on its growing smartphone business. The acquisition is expected to close sometime in 2014.
In 2010, Nokia went into partnership with Microsoft to exclusively build Windows Phone smartphones. The strategy was to aid Nokia’s declining profits, while growing and promoting the upcoming Windows Phone operating system with Nokia’s powerful brand name, extensive market reach, and a loyal consumer base. Nokia has since produced a series of flagship Windows Phones devices, including the recent Lumia 1020 and Lumia 928.
After the acquisition, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will take over Microsoft’s Devices and Studio Engineering, which encompasses all hardware, including Xbox. Julie Larson-Green, the current head of the devices division, will join Elop’s new team.
The announcement comes after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement next year.