John Thompson (pictured), chairman of Microsoft, said he has “no regrets” about the computing giant’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, despite its failure to make a go of the unit in the meantime.
In an interview with Financial Times, he said that if the company had not moved when it did – at a point when Steve Ballmer, former CEO had announced his exit – “we could have found ourselves in a position where Nokia was not available to us”.
“No one ever wants to write-off $7.8 billion. But no one ever wants to…limit the options,” Thompson said.
Microsoft has announced a number of job losses related to the former Nokia Devices and Services unit, as well as write-downs that have more than equalled the price paid for the business.
Satya Nadella, CEO – who has not gone on record as being especially supportive of being in the device making business – has said that the company is moving from having a standalone phone business to a more integrated “first-party device family”.
The Microsoft Devices Group has been integrated with the Operating Systems Group to create the Windows and Devices Group.
The Lumia smartphone business – under Nokia initially and then Microsoft – has had something of a lumpy track-record, with no real evidence of a stable increase in momentum.
In recent quarters, its volume has come from lower-cost devices, with it being some time since a new high-spec Lumia device reached the market.
Under its new structure, the aim is to regain some traction with premium devices, as well as targeting business users – a strategy not dissimilar to Microsoft’s increasingly solid Surface tablet activities.