Report: Mapping software a key sticking point in Microsoft-Nokia deal

Ever since the announcement that Microsoft was going to purchase Nokia's smartphone hardware business hit the Internet earlier this week, many have wondering just how the two companies came to a deal. Tonight, AllThingsD.com has a lengthy report, based on using unnamed sources, that claims to have many of the insider details of this landmark business transaction.

The report says that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called up Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa and asked him, "Can we talk?" in late January. In February, during the World Mobile Congress event in Barcelona, the serious discussions between Microsoft and Nokia began, according to this story.

The talks even had a code name, Project Gold Medal, with each company using the name of a different track and field runner to identify themselves. Microsoft's name was Edwin Moses, the great U.S. Olympic hurdler, while Nokia was referred to in these secret talks as Paavo Johannes Nurmi, the late nine time Olympic medalist in running that was also known as “the Flying Finn”.

Nokia's mapping software played a huge part in the deal.

The article goes on about the twists and turns that the negotiations took between Microsoft and Nokia over the next several months. At one point, the talks stalled because Microsoft also wanted to buy Nokia's HERE maps software and technology. Nokia said it wanted to keep that division to itself, because it wanted to offer the software to other companies.

In the end, the two groups made an interesting compromise. Nokia could still have full rights to its mapping codes, but Microsoft can not only license HERE Maps from Nokia, it can also change the code for its own use, giving Microsoft what is called "rights equivalent to ownership." That was the last major hurdle in the deal that concluded with Monday evening's announcement.

Source: AllThingsD.com | Image via Nokia

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