A new report says Microsoft may have come very close to owning its own smartphone company. Microsoft nearly reached an oral agreement to purchase Nokia's mobile hardware business earlier this year, but talks have fallen through, according to The Wall Street Journal. The two sides are said to have met in London as recently as this month to discuss a deal, but sources tell the paper that it is unlikely that discussions will continue. No price figure has been revealed, but it's reported that cash held by Microsoft outside of the US would have been used, requiring the company to take a significant tax loss.
The two companies have worked very closely over the past couple years since Nokia agreed to make Windows Phone its "principal smartphone strategy" in 2011. In a recent interview, senior Windows Phone marketing manager Casey McGee revealed that Microsoft has some say in the Lumia design process, saying "it feels like our child too." Both have struggled as Windows Phone has fought hard to gain marketshare against incumbents iOS and Android, and with recent forays into hardware, a Microsoft more dedicated to device design wouldn't be difficult to imagine. However, it appears that the deal, which would have greatly altered the mobile landscape, is off the table for now.