The European Commission has given the green light to Nokia's acquisition of telecoms equipment company Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion). The Commission noted that the deal would "not raise competition concerns" because "the parties are not close competitors [and] a number of strong global competitors will remain active." Nokia's strength in the telecoms industry is centered on Europe, said the Commission, while Alcatel-Lucent's main presence is in North America. It added that with industry leader Ericsson still in operation alongside Asian rivals Samsung, Huawei, and ZTE, there remains a competitive market for telecoms equipment.
The newly approved deal is the latest milestone in Nokia's transition from a company with major interests in consumer markets to an operation focused primarily on business and industry clients. Nokia's failure to keep up with the mobile market is well known, with the acquisition of its handset business by Microsoft recently written off for $7.6 billion (although Nokia has made a few attempts to perpetuate its brand). The company is also thought to be selling its Here Maps businesses to a consortium of automakers including Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. While a mobile company might have found a good use for an integrated maps business, the new Nokia’s interests evidently lie elsewhere.