Microsoft to buy Nokia’s devices and services business

Software giant says it will license patents for about $7.2 billion.

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft says it is buying Nokia’s devices and services business, and getting access to the company’s patents, for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market.

Nokia confirmed the deal in a joint news release from the two companies.

In the statement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the deal will bring Nokia’s capability and talent in hardware design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution to Microsoft.

The companies say that when the deal closes in early 2014, about 32,000 Nokia Corp. employees will transfer to Microsoft Corp.