In a new tell-all article about Satya Nadellas rise to CEO at Microsoft, an interesting fact has surfaced: He and co-founder Bill Gates, among others, initially opposed the companys deal to acquire Nokias smartphone unit.
According to a Bloomberg report, Gates, Nadella and former Skype leader Tony Bates all "initially balked at the move" to purchase Nokias devices and services business, as did several board members. The debate became so heated that former CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly shouted he couldnt be Microsofts chief executive if the board wouldnt agree with him.
Nadella later changed his mind, the report states, and an emailed statement to Bloomberg said he sees the impending acquisition as "the right move for Microsoft."
Ballmers deal originally called for Microsoft to acquire Nokias devices and services unit as well as its mapping division. The board, however, said Microsoft didnt need the mapping unit. While Nadella eventually came to Ballmers side for the smartphone unit, Gates "remained staunchly opposed" to the deal, according to Bloomberg.
Microsoft has struggled to regain its once strong foothold in the smartphone marketplace, with the companys Windows Phone platform making up just a tiny fraction of the overall landscape. Windows Phones marketshare continues to grow at a steady pace, however, and the company is expected to announce Windows Phone 8.1 next month at its Build 2014 conference. Several new features, such as its Cortana digital assistant, should bring the operating system more in line with Apples iOS and Googles Android in terms of capabilities.
The revelation of Microsofts formerly fractured leadership team comes just two days after Bates" departure was made official and the same month the Nokia smartphone unit acquisition is set to be finalized. Microsofts deal still faces some final hurdles, however, as Samsung and Google have voiced opposition in Chinese filings.
Ballmer confirmed his disappointment with Microsofts place in the smartphone landscape during a presentation at Oxford University on Tuesday, saying Microsoft "would have a stronger position in the smartphone market" if he and the company "could redo the last 10 years."