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Business

Nokia's days as phone maker numbered as Microsoft takes over

US software giant Microsoft has confirmed it'll buy the mobile phone unit of Finnish company Nokia. The deal is meant to shake up the mobile devices market and support Microsoft's search for new business opportunities.

Microsoft said on Tuesday it would buy the core business of mobile phone company Nokia for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.17 billion). It added the deal would consist of 3.79 billion euros for the Finnish firm's Devices and Services division and another 1.65 billion euros for its patents unit.

Microsoft confirmed that Nokia would grant the Washington state-based software giant a 10-year non-exclusive license to its patents, while the Finnish company would itself focus entirely on network infrastructure and services, while ceasing to exist as a phone maker.

The two companies said the deal would "redefine the boundaries of mobility," and would be completed by early 2014. About 32,000 employees would switch to Microsoft, if the acquisition is approved by regulators, Nokia said.

Industry shakeup

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Microsoft buys Nokia's handset business

Nokia dominated the mobile phone market for about 14 years, until it was overtaken by Samsung in 2012 as the top-selling brand in the sector, with the Finnish firm struggling to re-establish winning business models and mobile devices.

Amid increasing competition, Nokia among other things phased out its own Symbian platform in favor of a partnership with Microsoft, introducing handsets powered by Windows software.

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told reports that Windows Phone had meanwhile become "the fastest growing smart platform, growing by 78 percent last year." He added the deal with Nokia would accelerate the company's success in the smartphone business.

hg/pfd (dpa, AFP)

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