Nokia is officially part of Microsoft

Eight months after Microsoft(s MSFT) bought Nokia’s Devices and Services division for $7.17 billion, it’s official: Microsoft is no longer only a software giant but is also one of the world’s largest handset makers.

oDesk and Elance announce a merger

oDesk and Elance, two of the leading online work marketplace platforms, have announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge the two companies. Fabio Rosati, the CEO of Elance, will serve as the CEO of the combined entity, and oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in that role for new entity. oDesk CEO Gary Swart will be serving as a strategy advisor and the name of the new company will be announced post-merger.

These are two of the biggest players in this expanding marketplace, and by combining they are gaining a great deal of throw weight.

Here’s the two CEOs shaking on the deal:



Gary Swart on the left and Fabio Rosati on the right.

I will try to get an interview going with Fabio Rosati in the new year, and hear his plans.

I guess my next question is what is Gary Swart planning next? I will track him down and find that out.

Today in Mobile

Reuters is reporting that AT&T is in discussions to acquire the prepaid carrier Leap Wireless for an undisclosed sum, citing unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” But as my colleague Kevin Fitchard points out, the move would create a combined carrier running two incompatible networks, and the spectrum licenses that would be at the heart of the deal would hardly be enough to justify the price tag. So this rumored acquisition is about as likely to happen as the proposed T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS merger that was reported earlier this week.

Today in Mobile

There’s an odd dearth of news coming out of CTIA Wireless 2012 in New Orleans this week, so I’ll use this space to direct your attention to a Bloomberg piece outlining reported talks of a merger between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS. T-Mo parent Deutsche Telekom is said to be considering a stock-swap transaction that would give it control over the combined carrier, which would then become a public company. I’m still very skeptical of that scenario, because the carriers run very different 3G networks and merging them would be a massive headache (as Sprint learned with its pick-up of Nextel). But investors seem happy about the prospects, sending MetroPCS shares up nearly 20 percent.

AT&T-Mo fails FCC test but has one more shot

The FCC condemned AT&T-Mo in every way it could think of short of denying the actual merger. Instead it passed it along to an administrative law judge, where telecom deals go to die. But first AT&T has to face down the DOJ.