This year was mixed for Nokia. From the launching for successful Lumia series to the selling of Nokia's business to Microsoft. Nokia survived many blows this year. Yesterday speaking to The Times of India, Nokia explained how it avoided sales loss when the deal was announced on 2nd September.
"(Nokia's) Stephen Elop and (Microsoft's) Steve Ballmer's communication on how it was a win-win deal for both the companies and how we all had to continue focusing on our work was very clear. We were told the exact position in as many words and given a set of dos and don'ts," P Balaji, Nokia's India head told ET.
Breaking his silence on how Nokia's employees and partners took to the $7.2-billion deal news, Balaji said it was a critical moment for the entire team but the anxiety among employees and partners that logically followed the announcement was soon put to rest. "We were told that the likely regulatory approvals would come in the following quarters into 2014, and among the 'don'ts', we had been asked to not start to think too much ahead of the time and to continue working as two separate units until the approvals came in," he said. The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2014.
"There was no mixing up, and no, thankfully no confusion," Balaji said. The company spent the following days on reaching out to its partners. 'We reached out to our partners — over 400 in distribution and close to 5,000 partners — and explained the details of the deal and how it was only for the better," Balaji said, explaining how the company was able to allay concerns and ensure handset sales weren't hurt by the news.
Himanshu Chakravarti, chief executive of The Mobile Store, India's largest modern trade mobile phone seller, separately said he saw the announcement early morning, and soon after, received a call from the top management of Nokia India to explain to him the contours of the deal and how supply won't be affected at all. "I was satisfied."
Nokia has long slipped from its leadership position in the Indian market, as global rivals Samsung, Apple and Sony and home grown players such as Micromax sped past it. However, piggybacking on its Lumia range of phones, Nokia's sales have picked up in recent times. It managed to retain its market share in the July-September period after witnessing a sharp fall in the fourth quarter last year, according to IDC.
Vipul Mehrotra, a 16-year veteran at Nokia and currently the company's director and head of smart devices for India, Middle East and Africa, described the Microsoft deal as "an emotional moment".
"I was at Riyadh and a day before the announcement, the news was broken to us. I had to meet a team from Microsoft the next day and my mind was flooded with a number of questions, especially on how I would explain this to my team," Mehrotra said.
"In the next six weeks we were able to ensure that there was no loss of sales," he said. He added that both companies continue to function as two separate independent units until the integration is complete. An impediment to the smooth integration of the two companies in India was removed when the Delhi High Court last week allowed Nokia to sell its Chennai factory to Microsoft, asking income-tax authorities to revoke the freeze on the handset maker's assets.