MS CEO Ballmer with Nokia Chair: Conquerer with Defeated Man (image gallery)

Written by Tom Ewing

Our Tom Ewing isolated parts of news shots showing MS CEO Ballmer with Nokia chairman Risto SiilasmaaI — they’re shaking hands on the MS Nokia buy announced Sept. 3. Now look closely.. MS CEO Ballmer’s eyes are glittering and he looks psyched. The Nokia chair’s posture, facial expression and bearing provide the very picture of defeat. What’s really going on? Gallery, analysis — How does Nokia really feel about Microsoft’s $7.2 billion purchase of its business and patents? Photos speak volumes. Using Photoshop, I separated out images of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer with Nokia chair Risto Siilasmaa from widely-distributed images from the Sept. 3 press conference announcing the news. The original images showed MS CEO Ballmer with Nokia chair Siilasmaa on stage — shaking hands on the deal. After a closer look, I noticed Ballmer looks utterly triumphant. His eyes are gleaming. But the Nokia chair looks miserable.

The closeup shows just how vanquished Nokia must be. See for yourself from the pictures and closeups I assembled below. I’ve seen generals surrendering during World War II who looked happier than Siilasmaa does in the shots below.


In the first shot, at left, I grayed out Ballmer so you are able to see Siilasmaa more clearly. His expression is sunken and his posture is slumped. Even his hand in Ballmer’s looks flacid, impotent and conquered, as you can see in the closeup I took of that handshake below the fold.

Scroll below the fold to see how Ballmer looked.

In context, I should add, The Nokia chair’s miserable expression makes sense. The Nokia board met 50 times since Microsoft made the confidential offer to buy its ailing partner, Nokia, in February 2013. And Siilasmaa looks vanquished for good reason. On that board was current Nokia CEO, the former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop. Elop in 2011 pushed Nokia to kill its Symbian and Meego operating system plans in favor of the MS Windows Phone mobile OS and succeeded. This was in exchange for a Microsoft investment of $2 billion, Elop told reporters at Mobile World Congress in 2011. Our Gina Smith was there. Elop, by the way, is back at Microsoft according to the deal terms.

And here’s that handshake close up. Ballmer’s tanned, aggressive hand looks like it is swallowing up the Nokia chair’s limp one.


And here’s the silhouette image reversed. Check out the triumphant, conquering visage of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. He looks like he just scored the winning touchdown in a football game.

Ballmer version

Here, notice how the vanquished Nokia chairman Siilasmaa departs — he looks to be contemplating quite a different future than the one Nokia envisioned five years ago:

Walking away

The silhouette reversed, this time with Nokia chair Siilasmaa grayed out. Ballmer looks like quite the conquerer — notice his facial expression and confident posture — as the Nokia chairman skulks away behind him.

Walking away-ballmer

Nokia employees, speaking off the record and not for attribution, have expressed increasingly deep resentment at Microsoft’s so-called “Trojan Horse”‘ approach toward taking over their once-high-flying company. Nokia was a symbol of Finnish national pride and it remains its largest employer, at least for the next few months.

On the news of the Microsoft purchase, top Nokia designer Marko Ahtisaari said he is quitting — offically to “pursue other entrepreneurial opportunities.” This guy was the public face of Nokia design. He will likely not be alone in his decision. And then there’s the investors. A 2012 class action suit by shareholders, now settled under sealed terms, claimed Microsoft and Nokia had misled them into thinking that dumping Nokia technology in favor of the Microsoft Phone would be a boon to Nokia. Instead, Nokia’s fortunes declined steadily after the 2011 Microsoft $2B investment.

While Finnish officials and Nokia execs are giving the deal lip service, Finland’s approval of it is anyone’s guess. And the U.S. Department of Justice is sure to look hard at it, given that the deal makes Microsoft the single-largest controller of mobile telecom patents in the world.

See Microsoft Nokia Buy? Hell, No, Finns, DOJ Won’t Let Go .

For, I’m Tom Ewing.

Above image credits: Original illustrations created in Photoshop without changing body language or expressions of subjects, using various news photos from the Microsoft-Nokia press conference by Tom Ewing for .

Based in the U.S. and Europe, Tom Ewing is an intellectual property strategist and attorney who advises the United Nations agency WIPO on patent issues, lawsuits and strategy. He also is a senior editor and a board member at