Microsoft writes off $7.6B, admits failure of Nokia acquisition

'Monumental mistake' by former CEO Steve Ballmer comes home to roost

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Microsoft today wrote off billions of dollars related to its Nokia acquisition, saying it's taking an "impairment charge" of $7.6 billion, or nearly the full amount it paid for the Finnish firm's smartphone business and patents last year.

The announcement slapped the failure sticker on the last major move made by former CEO Steve Ballmer, who pushed for the Nokia deal in his final months in office against objections by, among others, Satya Nadella before he was elevated to the chief executive's chair.

"It was a mistake to begin with," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. "A monumental mistake. Microsoft had no business being in the cut-throat, low-margin phone business. Who's making money in phones besides Apple?"

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