As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlines in his new book, titled "Hit Refresh," that many at the Microsoft were strongly against the company's push to finalize its ill-fated acquisition of Nokia. In fact, Nadella counts himself among those in opposition to the acquisition and says that the time between the deal's finalization in 2014 and Microsoft's announced intention was very tense. Some of that tension, he continues, was caused by the fact that the company's CEO at the time, Steve Ballmer, held an internally public vote regarding employee personal perceptions of the acquisition. While most employees understood Ballmer's reasoning for wanting to follow through with the deal, including Nadella, opposition to the whole idea wasn't nonexistent.
In Hit Refresh, the executive explains that the deal itself was not only criticized by members of the press but was also resisted by several of Microsoft's own board members. That resistance came as a result of skepticism about whether or not Microsoft could create a viable third option for consumers in the mobile device market. In fact, Nadella says that, for his part, he wasn't even sure the world really needed another mobile ecosystem unless Microsoft could effectively "change the rules" by creating something both groundbreaking and different. Despite his misgivings, that's a goal Nadella says he faced head-on from the moment he took over for the former CEO since the deal had already been all but closed at the time – which forced the company to refocus efforts on manufacturing new devices, a new take on the mobile OS, and new experiences.
Unfortunately, Nadella's initial instinct about the acquisition and Microsoft's fate in the extremely competitive industry eventually proved to be grounded in reality. Following several years of struggling both to catch up to competitors and to build relevance with customers, the company sold off the vast majority of its Nokia ownership more than a year ago. Nadella also points out that the Windows Phone platform didn't really stand much of a chance in terms of gaining traction at the same level as Android or iOS. However, the resulting sell-off also resulted in what Nadella describes in his book as a heartbreaking number of layoffs.