Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO, to leave Microsoft

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Stephen Elop, the former top boss at phone-maker Nokia, is one of four high-level executives leaving Microsoft Corp as the company hones its focus on software services and the cloud, chief executive Satya Nadella announced on Wednesday.The departure of Elop, whose Devices group will be rolled into Microsoft’s Windows unit, signals a shift of emphasis away from hardware and back to Microsoft’s core business.Many analysts expect Microsoft to write off all or part of the US$7.2 billion (RM27.06 billion) it paid for Nokia’s handset business last year, a deal that left Microsoft with only 3% of the smartphone market.

“This as another indicator the Nokia acquisition was a US$7 billion head-scratcher deal that remains an overhang for Microsoft,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. “Nadella inherited this headache, now he is trying to make the best of a bad acquisition.”The purchase of Nokia’s handset business was the last major decision by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and was never popular with investors.

The deal brought Elop, once considered a successor to Ballmer, back to Microsoft to run its Devices unit. He had previously worked at Microsoft from 2008 to 2010, when he ran the company’s Office unit.Elop’s latest tenure at Microsoft was marked by an unsuccessful struggle to win greater adoption for Windows phones. He was widely mocked for insensitivity last year after he sent an email to colleagues that began with a friendly “Hello there” and then announced 12,500 layoffs in the 11th paragraph.

“Stephen and I have agreed that now is the right time for him to retire from Microsoft,” Nadella wrote to Microsoft employees in an email. Elop made no comment.The other executives leaving Microsoft are Kirill Tatarinov, who ran the company’s customer-relationship management software business, and long-time strategy and technology adviser Eric Rudder. Mark Penn, the political strategist who currently has the title of chief insights officer, is to leave in September to start his own private equity fund, Microsoft said. – Reuters, June 18, 2015.

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