Stephen Elop returning to Microsoft as part of Nokia deal


Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will return to Microsoft as part of the sale of Nokia's devices unit to the Windows maker.

As part of Microsoft's impending acquisition of Nokia's devices and services unit, current Nokia CEO and former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop is returning to the company where he once led development of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft's press release announcing the purchase notes that Elop will now serve as Nokia's executive vice president of its devices and services division, the portion of Nokia that Microsoft will acquire through the deal. According to an email sent to Microsoft employees by CEO Steve Ballmer, Elop will lead the Microsoft's devices team when the transaction is complete, including all of Microsoft's current devices and studios as well as the majority of the teams being acquired from Nokia.

Ballmer's memo states Julie Larson-Green, recently named the head of Microsoft's hardware products, will "be joining Stephen's team once the acquisition closes," though she will focus on the release of Microsoft's Xbox One game console and upcoming "Surface enhancements" until then. The move marks the third in about a year for Larson-Green, who oversaw Windows development following Steven Sinofsky's departure in November.

A separate press release issued by Nokia states Risto Siilasmaa, current chairman of Nokia's board of directors, will serve as the company's interim chief executive. Elop will directly report to Siilasmaa until the deal is finalized, which is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2014. In addition to relinquishing his responsibilities as president and CEO, Elop also resigned from Nokia's board of directors, effective immediately. 

Elop's return to Microsoft comes on the heels of speculation that he could be a candidate to become the company's chief executive when Ballmer retires in a year or less. Microsoft has given no indication of what qualities it's seeking in a new chief executive, however, and equal speculation exists that the company will seek an outside candidate instead of any internal options. Elop left Microsoft in 2010 to become Nokia's chief executive.

Source: Microsoft, Nokia | Image via Microsoft

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43 Comments

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Could imagine the Fox News or CNN reports if they made Elop (Canadian) the CEO of one of America's biggest companies.

"INVASION FROM THE NORTH" and all that.

"Stephen Elop returning to Microsoft as part of Nokia deal"

you mean as part of microsoft's succession plan. time to shed my MS shares.

so, who owns PureView and HA microphone now, Nokia or Microsoft ?
if Nokia can they now license it to other manufacturers?

Superboy said,
so, who owns PureView and HA microphone now, Nokia or Microsoft ?
if Nokia can they now license it to other manufacturers?

It sounds to me that Nokia just kept the mapping service and the business/enterprise side that they just got 100% off from Siemens a few months ago. MS is still licensing the HERE map platform btw. Everything else is owned by them now.

Microsoft's record with hardware is not so good. Sure they have had some success with Xbox, mice and keyboards but I think phone hardware is way beyond what MS are capable of. Good luck. I think that knowing the NOKIA brand is now owned by MS will take a lot of shine off future products. And what about MS now competing directly with WP OEM's? That can't work out well, NOKIA can't carry all the WP weight after the OEM's stop making Windows Phone.

derekaw said,
Microsoft's record with hardware is not so good. Sure they have had some success with Xbox, mice and keyboards but I think phone hardware is way beyond what MS are capable of. Good luck. I think that knowing the NOKIA brand is now owned by MS will take a lot of shine off future products. And what about MS now competing directly with WP OEM's? That can't work out well, NOKIA can't carry all the WP weight after the OEM's stop making Windows Phone.

You make a lot of points. Though I agree that this will negatively impact their relationship with other OEM's, I disagree that one OEM can't support a platform. Apple's been doing it for years...

With regards to Microsoft's hardware record, I have to whole heartedly disagree. They have a great track record of making high quality keyboards, mice, controllers, and peripherals... The XBox is a great piece of equipment, the Surface is very well designed, and they have amazing research products that show their competence and ability in hardware...

derekaw said,
Microsoft's record with hardware is not so good. Sure they have had some success with Xbox, mice and keyboards but I think phone hardware is way beyond what MS are capable of. Good luck. I think that knowing the NOKIA brand is now owned by MS will take a lot of shine off future products. And what about MS now competing directly with WP OEM's? That can't work out well, NOKIA can't carry all the WP weight after the OEM's stop making Windows Phone.

Unless MS tries to rebrand things to a big degree the Lumia brand will stay the Lumia brand, just look at Skype. Most people don't even know Skype is owned by MS now and you can't tell unless you read the fine print in the EULA, or if you visit Skype.com and scroll all the way to the bottom in the right corner you see the MS name.

I think the Skype deal is how the Lumia deal will go down. It's be Lumia and then way down at the bottom in smaller letters you'll see "Microsoft".

It will be interesting to see how things will develop....One thing is sure: sooner or later, but I presume sooner, we will witness a " night of the long knives" happening in Redmond.

Hopefully Microsoft can keep the coolness of the brand lumia and wp , and also keep supporting/adding new features (like nokia has done with smart cam, here drive, etc to the low end lumia devices.

ians18 said,
Hopefully Microsoft can keep the coolness of the brand lumia and wp , and also keep supporting/adding new features (like nokia has done with smart cam, here drive, etc to the low end lumia devices.
The coolness of the Lumia brand?

JHBrown said,
The coolness of the Lumia brand?

I'm just shocked you would question such an obvious statement... What with your clear unbiased opinions in the past and all... LOL

JHBrown said,
The coolness of the Lumia brand?

If you have ever been to northern California (pretty tech savvy) alot of people here use windows phones specifically lumias. Most teens refer to it as a Nokia, a really durable phone, and if Microsoft doesn't borrow the Nokia brand and transition it properly, everyone would be referring to the phones by the wrong name. The Nokia brand could also loose it's reputation and windows phone sales may decline.

ians18 said,

If you have ever been to northern California (pretty tech savvy) alot of people here use windows phones specifically lumias. Most teens refer to it as a Nokia, a really durable phone, and if Microsoft doesn't borrow the Nokia brand and transition it properly, everyone would be referring to the phones by the wrong name. The Nokia brand could also loose it's reputation and windows phone sales may decline.

Also you have to agree the 1020 is awesome.

M_Lyons10 said,

I'm just shocked you would question such an obvious statement... What with your clear unbiased opinions in the past and all... LOL

ha + 1.
Interesting to see the usual suspects pop up with their comments. Clutching at straws today!

ians18 said,

If you have ever been to northern California (pretty tech savvy) alot of people here use windows phones specifically lumias. Most teens refer to it as a Nokia, a really durable phone, and if Microsoft doesn't borrow the Nokia brand and transition it properly, everyone would be referring to the phones by the wrong name. The Nokia brand could also loose it's reputation and windows phone sales may decline.

Interesting. I live in Southern California bounce around L.A., San Diego, and Orange County frequently. I've seen maybe 10 Lumias. I was in Union Square and Fishermans Wharf for two weeks and didn't see any. Interesting, because I look for gadgets. Ian, I was only questioning the popular statement. Not ridiculing the Lumia. Popular phones would be the flagship Androids and iPhones. Phones you see everyone and their grandma using.

In the US, yes. Try the rest of the world, where everyone else lives. It's mostly Android out there, for many reasons, but the iPhone doesn't stand at #2 in a number of places, especially in large markets (people-wise) like India and Russia, and it's about even in China.

I know most of us are US-centric in our views, but most of the world's population lives outside of North America, not in it.

http://www.zdnet.com/could-win...artphone-stakes-7000020075/

JHBrown said,
Popular phones would be the flagship Androids and iPhones. Phones you see everyone and their grandma using.

It's not cool if even your grandma is using it.

I don't see the Windows Devices getting any better than what they are as of now. Seemingly MS and Nokia partnership was working well, whilst they are/were separate entities.

Liaqat_ali said,
I don't see the Windows Devices getting any better than what they are as of now. Seemingly MS and Nokia partnership was working well, whilst they are/were separate entities.

yes, that is true, but if you're thinking about the future and the way forward, bringing the two closer only makes sense. I hope no innovation is lost from Nokia's devices expertise though.

LaP said,
So he was a trojan horse ?

Seriously, its like noone at Nokia has read greek mythology. it was pretty obvious after Elop announced their new 'special relationship' with MS a month after taking over.

At this point, I would not at all be surprised. I thought Elop would be a prime candidate, but only if MS bought Nokia, and well...

Sraf said,
At this point, I would not at all be surprised. I thought Elop would be a prime candidate, but only if MS bought Nokia, and well...

I never worked under Elop (I worked under Sinofsky in the past), but I never thought that highly of Elop. If he is so great, Nokia wouldn't be in such a poor financial condition. Ideally, I would like to see that Nokia turning positive (no more of that bankruptcy crap)..before MSFT buys it...to prove to me that Elop truly can manage and turn things around...

For the sake of Microsoft, what does Elop have that make him a prime candidate to begin with anyway?

greenwizard88 said,
He took a company that was in poor financial standing and with no direction, and made it a competitor in the global landscape again?

Eh... with 3.3% of market share, with Nokia on the brink of bankruptcy before MSFT comes to rescue?
It is unlikely that Sinofsky will return... In terms of technical expertise, it would seem that Satya Nadella would fit the role. But then, given Steve Ballmer's preference in marketing/business leader (as opposed to a technical leader like BillG), I guess Elop is in the drawing. Well played Elop.

Whatever happens, I am curious what MiniMicrosoft blog has to say on the next CEO

ThunderRiver said,

Eh... with 3.3% of market share, with Nokia on the brink of bankruptcy before MSFT comes to rescue?
It is unlikely that Sinofsky will return... In terms of technical expertise, it would seem that Satya Nadella would fit the role. But then, given Steve Ballmer's preference in marketing/business leader (as opposed to a technical leader like BillG), I guess Elop is in the drawing. Well played Elop.

Whatever happens, I am curious what MiniMicrosoft blog has to say on the next CEO

What did you want? Them to continue with Symbian? Or go Android?

neoxphuse said,

What did you want? Them to continue with Symbian? Or go Android?

It is good that they ditched Symbian.. but then again, even with Lumia line, it alone isn't enough to save Nokia. That's the reality. If MSFT doesn't come in, Nokia would simply die. Well, obviously, Elop is no Jobs..so enough said.

ThunderRiver said,

Eh... with 3.3% of market share, with Nokia on the brink of bankruptcy before MSFT comes to rescue?

I'd attribute a good portion of Nokia's troubles to the speed at which Microsoft has (or hasn't, in this case) been progressing the WP platform.

ThunderRiver said,

I never worked under Elop (I worked under Sinofsky in the past), but I never thought that highly of Elop. If he is so great, Nokia wouldn't be in such a poor financial condition. Ideally, I would like to see that Nokia turning positive (no more of that bankruptcy crap)..before MSFT buys it...to prove to me that Elop truly can manage and turn things around...

For the sake of Microsoft, what does Elop have that make him a prime candidate to begin with anyway?


Sorry, but this is just laughably absurd...

He came into a company that was bleeding market share and cash, and needed a new direction. He led the company through a turnaround that rejuvenated the brand, moved them towards profitability, and returned the brand to some level of top of mind (when most people had written them off)... Turning around a company doesn't happen over night... It amazes me that people don't realize this. They just know they could do it better... LMAO

M_Lyons10 said,

Sorry, but this is just laughably absurd...

He came into a company that was bleeding market share and cash, and needed a new direction. He led the company through a turnaround that rejuvenated the brand, moved them towards profitability, and returned the brand to some level of top of mind (when most people had written them off)... Turning around a company doesn't happen over night... It amazes me that people don't realize this. They just know they could do it better... LMAO

I don't see how news of nearing bankruptcy and selling off its headquarter building being a sign of "turning around a company."

Jobs returned to Apple in 97, and released iPod in 2001.. that's like a three to four years span. Elop left for Nokia in 2010..and three years later, a company is still near its death pit. Say what you will about introduction of Lumia, if Microsoft hasn't stepped in, do you honestly see Nokia would stay afloat under Elop? Be realistic about this, and still say with a straight face that Elop is truly a capable CEO.

S#!T JUST GOT REAL! He really could rejuvenate their brand image issue. Its going to be very interesting over the next year.