Ina Fried

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Microsoft’s Millions Help Cushion Nokia’s Windows Phone Transition

While it’s clear that Nokia’s transition away from Symbian will be a bumpy road, Microsoft’s cash is helping to ease the pain.

As part of Thursday’s earnings report, Nokia noted it received $250 million from Redmond in the first of many quarterly “platform support payments.” It’s part of what the company says will ultimately be billions of dollars in support of its shift to Windows Phone.

Nokia also notes that it pays Microsoft royalties on each phone and has guaranteed minimum commitments, an amount it also expects to ultimately be measured in the billions of dollars.

Last quarter, though, the money flow was clearly toward Nokia, with the company saying it shipped somewhere north of 1 million Windows Phones.

Those payments are going to be needed by Nokia, which noted on Thursday that its Symbian sales are slowing considerably faster than it had predicted.

Nokia had hoped to sell 150 million more Symbian devices even after announcing its Windows Phone transition. It said on Thursday that it no longer expects to reach that level. It didn’t provide a new estimate but said it took charges in the fourth quarter related to both excess inventory and future purchase commitments.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work