Ballmer’s relations with the board hit a low when he shouted at a June meeting that if he didn’t get his way he couldn’t be CEO, people briefed on the meeting said. The flare-up was over his proposed purchase of most of Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), and part of an ongoing debate: Should Microsoft be a software company or a hardware company too?
Several directors and co-founder and then-Chairman Bill Gates – Ballmer’s longtime friend and advocate – initially balked at the move into making smartphones, according to people familiar with the situation. So, at first, did Nadella, signaling his position in a straw poll to gauge executives’ reaction to the deal. Nadella later changed his mind.
“Nokia brings mobile-first depth across hardware, software, design, global supply chain expertise and deep understanding and connections across the mobile market,” Nadella said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “This is the right move for Microsoft.”
A real nice “fly on the wall” look at events inside Microsoft where said fly appears determined to throw quite a bit o' mud at Ballmer. Interesting that though Nadella initially opposed the Nokia deal, he did ultimately back the deal, so at least in some regard, Nadella too thinks Microsoft has a role to play in hardware and services.