A Fool Looks Back

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is trying to buy its way out of a problem again. The software giant has struck several deals in which it's willing to shell out billions in exchange for an acquisition or access. Now it seems to be doing a bit of both as it plans to acquire Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) devices and services business in a deal that's roughly valued at $7.2 billion.

That's a lot of money, even for a company that has a lot of it. But the move is not a great surprise. Nokia's market cap has crashed since former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop took over as CEO at Nokia and struck a deal to back Windows Phone. It probably wasn't long before Elop or the Windows Phone deal would've been tossed. Acquiring the division -- and Elop -- helps Microsoft save face. Let's call it hush money to Nokia.

It will be interesting to see where things go from here. Does this make Elop Microsoft's next CEO? Will Microsoft target other handset makers now in an effort to bump up its share of the smartphone market above the current 4%? 

Something tells me that Microsoft isn't done cutting big checks. 

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL  ) reported an 81% surge in revenue in its latest quarter. The maker of fuel-cell power plants continued the welcome trend of posting narrowing quarterly losses.
  • eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) is buying Decide.com, the fast-growing online shopping research service that provides guidance on which way prices are going. Unfortunately, like so many of these tech-giant purchases, eBay will shut down the site by the end of the month. It merely wants the technology and the talent.
  • Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC  ) is firing blanks. The gunmaker slipped after posting disappointing quarterly results. The most recent quarter was solid with revenue and earnings growing stronger than expected. However, Smith & Wesson misfired on its guidance by targeting a profit that's a lot less than analysts were forecasting.

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