Investors react as Microsoft closes $US7.2b Nokia deal

Microsoft finally closed its $US7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's phone division today, eight months after it was announced.

Investors reacted positively, with Microsoft shares [MSFT:NOK] up 1.08% in late Nasdaq trading as the broader market fell 1.69%.

The new Microsoft subsidiary created by the deal will be known as Microsoft Mobile.

A Microsoft statement, issued this morning, did not directly address the the question of whether the Nokia band name will be be retained, or whether dual branding or Microsoft-only badging will be used on new phones. 

Microsoft says it will continue to work with other smartphone makers that use its Windows Phone software on some models.

Recent IDC stats gave handsets running on Microsoft Windows Phone software 3.7% of the smartphone market, against 13.2% for Apple's iPhone and 79.3% for Google's Android (used by Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, Huawei and others).

Nokia — which has been in a marketing partnership with Microsoft since 2011 — accounted for 81.6% of Windows Phone sales, according to the market researcher.

Around 32,000 Nokia employees had been expected to join Microsoft (which has just under 100,000 employees).

That number will be around 25,000 after it was announced that a giant handset plant in Chennai, India will remain in Nokia's hands. The factory — which can produce 10 million handsets a month — has been at the centre of a tax dispute with the Indian government that has been one of the factors delaying the deal.

In New Zealand, Microsoft MD Paul Muckleston — drawing on IDC data and his company's internal surveys — says Windows Phone holds close to 10% of the local market.

The deal is not expected to have any personnel impact locally. Nokia has just two people on the ground in NZ, with the bulk of its Australasian staff based across the Tasman.

Nokia was once the last word in smartphone cool. It dominated sales until the mid-to-late 2000s when the Finnish company was steamrolled by iPhone and Android as it proved too slow to adopt to a new world of touchscreens, and online app stores that put users in control of their phones.

Microsoft says it's evolving from a software company to a devices and services company; the Nokia buy is pitched as part of that transition.