This year has already seen its fair share of game-changing acquisitions, but none more so than Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's devices and services business.
That's the perspective of 177 Light Reading readers, at least. In a recent survey of our community, 35 percent responded that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s bid to acquire Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s devices and services business for $7.2 billion will have the largest impact on the industry. Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) selling its stake in Verizon Wireless came in second, attracting 21 percent of votes. (See Nokia Sells Devices Business to Microsoft and Vodafone Agrees to $130B Verizon Stake Sale.)
These two were far-and-away the winners, but third place, at 15 percent, went to the love triangle of SoftBank Corp. , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Clearwire. (See Softbank Closes on Sprint Acquisition and Sprint Shareholders Approve SoftBank Merger.)
For the remaining options (and there were several):
- 8 percent chose Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)'s purchase of both AcmePacket and Tekelec
- 7 percent picked Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)'s acquisition of Motorola Home
- 5 percent liked T-Mobile US Inc. 's purchase of MetroPCS
- 4 percent went to Nokia taking total ownership of NSN
- 3 percent opted for Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s Virgin Media buy
All of the acquisitions are having ripple effects in their areas of the industry, but mobile players have been consolidating at the most rapid clip. Microsoft and Vodafone may have pulled in the most votes in part due to their timing -- they were announced right before the poll was posted. But the impact either will have on the industry remains to be seen.
For Microsoft, acquiring its flagship device partner could help the software giant build tightly integrated handsets and ultimately carve out room for a third operating system in the mobile market. Or, the gamble might not pay off as it risks alienating other Windows Phone partners. (See The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)
Verizon paid a big premium -- $130 billion -- to get its independence. The implications of the deal may be just financial, as many expect, but they could also affect how Verizon does business. As its own company, Verizon has the opportunity to unify its FiOS and wireless businesses, including its backend processes and billing systems and even the services it offers customers.
These services could get a lot more powerful, connected, and intelligent, which meshes well with the carrier's far-reaching plans for machine-to-machine communications and the connected car. Verizon hasn't committed to anything yet, but the doors are open now that it's no longer beholden to an overseas co-owner.
Read more about the potential implications of this year's other mergers below:
- Oracle Snaps Up Tekelec
- Oracle to Acquire Acme for $1.7B
- Arris Secures Motorola Home
- NSN Becomes NSN
- MetroPCS/T-Mobile Wedding Is On
- Liberty Global Gets Go-Ahead for Virgin Takeover
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading