The European Union has cleared Microsoft’s deal to purchase Nokia’s Devices and Services unit. In a statement released today, the Commission notes that the “overlap of the two companies' activities in this area is minimal and several strong rivals, such as Samsung and Apple will continue to compete with the merged entity.”
Microsoft quickly applauded the move. As a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge: "We look forward to the date when our partners at Nokia will become members of the Microsoft family, and are pleased that the European Commission has cleared the deal without conditions." The European approval comes just days after the US Department of Justice also gave Microsoft’s deal the go ahead, and paves the way for the merger to complete early next year.
Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is now expected to rejoin Microsoft to “lead an expanded Devices team" that encompasses Surface, Windows Phone devices, and the Xbox games consoles. Although recent speculation has centered on Elop as a CEO candidate to take over from Steve Ballmer, he’s reportedly now "less likely" to secure the position over other candidates. Microsoft is expected to name its replacement CEO shortly, possibly before the end of the year. Microsoft has not yet detailed exactly how it plans to integrate Nokia’s Lumia and Asha lines into its expanding devices team, but the company will likely start to detail its steps further following the US and EU approvals.