Ballmer’s phone blunder cost Microsoft $10B – Computerworld

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s decision to buy the Nokia phone business and current chief executive Satya Nadella’s roll-back of that move cost the company $10 billion, most of it paper losses, in the firm’s 2015 fiscal year.

The magnitude of Ballmer’s blunder became apparent Monday when Microsoft disclosed details in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that outlined how the company put a match to $10 billion in just 12 months.

“Impairment, integration, and restructuring expenses were $10 billion for fiscal year 2015, compared to $127 million for fiscal year 2014,” Microsoft dryly stated in the 10-K submitted to the SEC on Friday. “The increase was mainly due to impairment charges of $7.5 billion related to our Phone Hardware business in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015.”

Previously, Microsoft had said that the impairment charge — a write-off of the value ascribed to the Nokia phone division business and a long-term licensing agreement for the Finnish firm’s patents — was approximately $7.6 billion. The 10-K did not reveal why the earlier numbers differed from those in the 10-K document.

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