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Microsoft's Nokia deal approved by US Justice Department

Microsoft's Nokia deal approved by US Justice Department

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have signed off on a $7.2 billion deal allowing Microsoft to purchase Nokia’s Devices and Services unit. Shareholders of the Finnish smartphone maker recently approved the deal, which will allow Microsoft to ship its own Windows Phones with or without the Lumia branding, and today the FTC has granted early termination on the deal. "We look forward to the date when our partners at Nokia will become members of the Microsoft family, and are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared the deal unconditionally," says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

An approval in the US leaves Microsoft awaiting EU approval over its deal before it can go ahead and close it fully. Regulators in Europe are expected to approve the deal without any conditions, allowing Microsoft to purchase the core part of Nokia’s phone making business. While the deal awaits full approval, Microsoft has not yet detailed how Nokia’s device business will merge into Microsoft’s own hardware division going forward. It’s still not clear how Microsoft plans to integrate Nokia’s Lumia and Asha lines with the company’s internal structure and own Windows Phone marketing.

All eyes on the EU for final approval

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is due to return to Microsoft post-close 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 CEO replacement shortly, possibly before the end of the year. Either way, Ballmer has previously indicated that Microsoft will improve its naming for future Windows Phones, claiming the company wants to avoid names such as "the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020."