Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's devices and services business is one of the biggest mobile tech deals ever made, bigger even than Google's buyout of Motorola two years ago.
So who stands to gain, who stands to lose, and how is the £4.6bn deal going to impact on the wider mobile industry at large? Let's look at some of the key players:
On the surface, this is what Microsoft wanted all along. In one cash transaction it has become the mobile hardware heavyweight it was never going to be on its own steam, and has inherited one of the biggest patent libraries in the business. It is also inheriting some 32,000 new staff members, which will be a challenge logistically.
Microsoft says it wants to triple Windows Phone's market share come 2018, but it remains to be seen how many Nokia Windows Phone users will remain loyal once the Nokia name falls away. And how will the other WP8 OEMs react to Microsoft taking what was already a massively dominant favoured partner and pulling it even closer to the fold? If I was Samsung, LG, HTC or the like, I'd wish Microsoft luck and say we'll talk again in 2018.
The Asha brand
The acquisition of the Series 40-based Asha brand isn't the most glamorous aspect of the buyout, but it's probably the most interesting. Microsoft will see the feature phone brand as pivotal in its plans to effectively groom mobile first-timers in developing nations as future Windows Phone users. Will that see the Asha range gradually evolve into some sort of Windows Phone Lite brand? Nokia is well known for its focus on grass-roots innovations in developing communities as part of its Next Billion philosophy. Will Microsoft be as committed?
Well that worked out quite nicely, didn't it? The Nokia Windows Phone experiment is struggling (another bad set of results are expected in Q3), Nokia traditionalists are calling for your head and the wider world still thinks it's not too late to jump to Android, and Elop gets to step down from the Nokia hot seat and take up a powerful role right under Steve Ballmer's wing back at Microsoft, just as Ballmer's about to head into retirement. Regardless of anything else, you have to say well played Stephen Elop. It must make all those pretend on-stage buddy-ups with Ballmer you've had to go through worth it. Almost.
The big loser in all of this is of course Nokia itself, which will continue to exist but in a much diminished capacity that will consign the notion of Nokia mobile phones to the history books. Sentiment has little place in corporate business, so on that basis Nokia surely deserves this – the past few years have seen too many bad decisions and too few good phones emerging from Espoo. But for many of us, this is also the company that was with us when we took our very first steps into the brave new world of mobile phones, back when they represented an exciting new world of communication, rather than just another always-on uber-gadget helping to fuel our digital existence.
Android and iOS
In truth, this may be a big deal for Microsoft followers, Windows Phone users and most of all Nokia fans, for everyone else this isn't actually that big a deal. The immediate impact of today's news on market leaders Samsung and Apple will be pretty much nothing at all – in the short term anyway – and considering how hard Microsoft and Nokia have had to work just to get their partnership to where it is now, there won't be much sleep lost over this. Not even at BlackBerry, since in truth it's already lost its battle against Microsoft for “third ecosystem” bragging rights.