updated 09:25 am EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Nokia takes MS cash as Ahtisaari becomes Exec VP
Nokia in sidenotes to its tough fall quarter has revealed some of the inside workings of its deal with Microsoft as well as its shift in design direction. The Finnish company acknowledged being paid a $250 million installment from Microsoft as a "platform support payment." Neither side has fully disclosed how much the deal is worth, but the initial sum supports allusions to Microsoft paying billions and implies that Nokia has made a multi-year deal.
In jumping from Symbian, Nokia is known to have considered Android. It has regularly said that it picked Windows Phone to genuinely differentiate itself, although the financial investment suggests that monetary compensation was a major factor. Microsoft is known to have been eager to boost Windows Phone's share after a first year of low sales and is hoping it can effectively buy market share by talking to the company that still leads overall phone shipments.
The payout came just as Nokia said it was promoting its design strategy director Marko Ahtisaari to become its Executive VP of Design. Its shift would put Ahtisaari in the core Nokia Leadership Team and have him report directly to CEO Stephen Elop.
The Finland native may be instrumental to Nokia's turnaround. Having led the design wing since 2009, he's credited with much of the sudden resurgence of distinctive phones in Nokia's lineup since. His centerpiece is considered the N9. While a modest-selling device itself, its seamless, uniquely high quality shape led to two of the most critically well-regarded Nokia phone designs of recent memory, the Lumia 800 and the upcoming Lumia 900.
He's also responsible for the Asha basic feature phone line and a minor resurgence in a field that has been rapidly giving way to smartphones.