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Russian rumor: Microsoft to buy Nokia for $30bn

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Today's unsubstantiated but intriguing rumor: Microsoft will buy Nokia's mobile division – smartphones, feature phones, plain-vanilla phones – for $30bn, and the deal will be completed this year because "обе компании очень сильно торопятся."

That last phrase is Russian for "both companies are very much in a hurry," and comes from the personal blog (English translation) of Eldar Murtazin, the publisher of Mobile-Review and the source of the rumor.

Murtazin's blog post, by the way, doesn't mention the $30bn figure – that detail comes from SoftSailor, which doesn't point to their specific source.

Murtazin has had his run-ins with Nokia in the past, including one highly publicized squabble in which the Finnish phonemaker sicced Russian authorities on him to get back as-yet-unreleased Nokia property.

Neither has Murtazin curried favor with Nokia with such articles as "Nokia: the destruction of a great company" (in Russian or English), so it would be easy to brush this rumor off as an attempt to merely aggravate Nokia.

But Murtazin has a decent record of accurately predicting other moves by the company, such as that they were looking to replace former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, which they did last September, replacing him with Microsoftie Stephen Elop.

Last December, he also said that Nokia would offer "an entire line of Windows Phone devices" – and we all know how that turned out: this February, Elop announced that Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its smartphone operating system.

Murtazin also predicted that Nokia would kill off the Ovi brand that it uses used for its online store. Guess what happened this morning?

Murtazin isn't the only Nokia observer to speculate about a possible Microsoft purchase of the phonemaker after Elop's move from Redmond to Espoo, but to our knowledge he's the first to put a time stamp on it.

And speaking of time-specific predictions, Murtazin has also said that Elop would resign from Nokia at the end of next year.

If, however, Murtazin's latest prediction is correct and Microsoft buys Nokia this year, perhaps Elop – mission accomplished – won't have to wait that long to be welcomed back to Redmond. ®

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