Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Microsoft Is Getting Nokia’s Phone Business for a Song

time-to-buySay what you will about the overall strategic wisdom of Microsoft paying $7 billion and change for Nokia’s smartphone business and patent portfolio, but you certainly can’t fault Microsoft for choosing to buy now versus a few years ago.

Shares of Nokia peaked in late 2007 at $40.59, when its wireless phone division still ruled the world and its share of the world’s market for smartphones, then based primarily on its since-abandoned Symbian operating system. Since then, it has all been downhill. The shares never traded higher than that price; they’ve fallen by more than 90 percent. Prior to the announcement of today’s news, American Depository Receipts of Nokia closed at $3.90. And while Microsoft is not getting the whole company, it’s certainly paying a lot less for the piece it’s getting than it would have.

As a way of placing the height of its share price in historical context, here’s a brief reminder of what the wireless industry looked like in late 2007: Apple’s first-generation iPhone was still new on the market, and the first phone running Google’s Android was nearly a year from release. BlackBerry still dominated a fair portion of the smartphone business, and its fortunes were still on the rise. Even Palm was still a market player, if a distant one, and was still a year away from pivoting toward webOS. (You remember how that turned out.)

Anyway, here’s another look at the near-total collapse in Nokia’s share price over the course of five years and change, via Google Finance:

NOK-shares

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald