Microsoft said it had reached an agreement to acquire the handset and services business of Nokia for about $7.2 billion, in an audacious effort to transform Microsoftâ€™s business for a mobile era that has largely passed it by.
Late Monday, Microsoft and Nokia said 32,000 Nokia employees would join Microsoft as a result of the all-cash deal, which is meant to turn the Finnish mobile phone pioneer into the engine for Microsoftâ€™s mobile efforts.
Stephen Elop, the former Microsoft executive who was running Nokia until the deal was signed, will rejoin Microsoft after the transaction closes, setting him up as a potential successor to Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoftâ€™s chief executive. Mr. Ballmer has said he will retire from the company within 12 months.
â€œThis agreement is really a bold step into the future for Microsoft,â€ Mr. Ballmer said in a telephone interview from Finland. â€œWeâ€™re excited about the talent capabilities it will bring to Microsoft.â€