When Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Nokia’s phones businesses, it was slated to close “in the first quarter of 2014”, a deadline that is rapidly approaching. While regulatory approval has been granted in most major markets, a few holdouts have apparently been an issue, including China, India, and possibly Korea. Those roadblocks may be clearing, however. According to the Indian newspaper Business Standard, the bureaucratic hitches in China have been cleared, and the deal is set to close within 20 days.
Nokia is still facing problems of its own in India, as they continue to face income tax issues that have taken the dispute to the Indian Supreme Court. The court is looking to “find a way out” of the tax dispute, which centers on setting an “authoritative figure” for the value of Nokia’s India unit, and then paying off the taxes, somewhere in the range of , of course. While the dispute likely makes the transfer of Nokia’s phones business to Microsoft a bit messier, it doesn’t appear that it will further delay the deal.
Once the deal is done the hard work of incorporating phones businesses, including development of the new Android powered Nokia X, and Nokia’s 30,000 employees will have only just begun. Former CEO Stephen Elop is expected to take over an Executive Vice President and Senior Leadership role currently held down by Julie Larson Green, who will move over to work for Qi Lu in the Applications and Services group. From there, Microsoft will have to assimilate Nokia’s global phones businesses while battling Android and iPhone and scrambling to launch a new portfolio of devices, hopefully in time for this year’s holiday season. At least it looks like the deal will finally be closed, and that hard work can begin.