Nick Wingfield on the surreal tale of the Microsoft/Nokia negotiations:
Mr. Ballmer and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, were walking across the law firm’s lobby, when Mr. Ballmer — absorbed in reading a document from Nokia related to the deal — tripped on a glass coffee table. Letting out a loud shriek, Mr. Ballmer fell to floor, hit his head and began bleeding above his eyebrow.
Executives from Nokia sequestered in a conference room elsewhere in the offices were baffled by the sound, wondering whether Mr. Ballmer was reacting badly to a counter-proposal they had made. His security detail patched him up, and Mr. Ballmer resumed negotiations.
By the afternoon of the next day, participants in the discussions noticed the coffee table was gone.
I’m not sure which is more strange:
a) This detail.
b) That Ina Fried is reporting nearly the exact same weird story at the exact same time.
Also odd: that it was seemingly Nokia’s mapping service which was the single biggest holdup in the deal. That shows just how far the handset business has fallen. “Leave the maps, take the handsets.”