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Indian Government Lifts Nokia's Asset Freeze, Factory Can Transfer To Microsoft 53

Posted by timothy
from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.
rjmarvin writes "The Delhi High Court approved an appeal by Nokia today to unfreeze the company's Indian assets, including the Chennai mobile phone factory set to be transferred to Microsoft as part of its devices and services acquisition. The decision was contingent on Nokia putting $367 million in escrow to go towards its imposed taxes. Nokia lobbied to lift the freeze to avoid holding up the deal or being forced to stay on as a subcontractor, though they're still on the hook for taxes and penalties to the tune of up to $3.4 billion for a financial period dating back to 2006. Microsoft, though, is in the clear."
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Indian Government Lifts Nokia's Asset Freeze, Factory Can Transfer To Microsoft

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  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @04:11PM (#45673871) Homepage
    We know this means, "The bribe went through with great success!"
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Whereas in the West we just say that corporate lobbyists were successful in establishing a win to leverage existing synergies and ensure a deal which will be beneficial to all parties.

      I'm not sure I see a whole lot of difference, really. :-P

      • It's less direct. And without discussing the legal or ethical comparisons, hiding it better helps the blue collar.
        A country which appears to be more honest will get more contracts and there will be more jobs involved, because strictly between the two, a business will pick the one where corruption is less visible.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          because strictly between the two, a business will pick the one where corruption is less visible.

          Or more readily exploited.

    • all that means is you can now formally forward the extortion threat to your new overlords. somebody who is anxious at not "getting a taste" can get this bumped up to $5 billion at the drop of a hat.

      this court just dotted the "i"s. somebody else will get to cross the "t"s.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @04:25PM (#45674007)
    Personally I think that India is quite cool; but it would never enter my head in a million years to do business where any Indian official could screw things up. Maybe I am completely wrong but this is the perception of every business person I know including Indians who regularly navigate those dangerous waters.

    India regularly complains that they don't get any respect from the western business world who only want to sell their products in India from afar. It makes me wonder what kind of powerhouse India could be if there wasn't this ever present threat that either a corrupt official (at any one of the 10,000 government departments) will demand a bribe, or the ever present threat that a local competitor will use officialdom to shut you out of the Indian market.

    If it is this bad for outsiders how terrible is it for Indians who manage to have some success?
    • by hydrofix (1253498) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @04:56PM (#45674307)
      The corruption in India is indeed rampant and throughout. One of the most astonishing forms I have seen are the "living dead", where authorities are bribed to declare you dead [nytimes.com], so that someone can meanwhile and unbeknownst to you make a claim to your inheritance. For this particular poor fellow, it took mere 19 years of battling against the authorities until a court finally acknowledged him actually being alive.
      • by sustik (90111)

        I wonder whether anyone thought to exploit this. For example, it seems that he would not have to pay for traffic tickets. Simply send in a letter that says he cannot pay the fine because he is dead.

        (However, I would not think that a "living dead" would get away with destroying property or with murder.)

        • by the_arrow (171557)

          Traffic tickets in India? Have you seen how they drive there?

          Now not paying taxes, on the other hand, that will sure make the authorities wake up and take action.

    • Just about every significant philosophic or religious personage in history has said that corruption is *everywhere*.

    • If it is this bad for outsiders how terrible is it for Indians who manage to have some success?

      I don't think you have any idea about India, except some anecdotal tales from "businessmen who were treading dangerous waters".
      I am yet to see Indians complaining of lack of respect from Western business world. I don't know what you are talking about...did an Indian say, "please white brother, please respect us".
      There are enough Indian companies in various verticals thriving in India. The corruption you are talking about exists in different forms all over the world. In the most business friendly country

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Funny how the sum suddenly rose from 300 million to 1.1 Billion and now it is suddenly 3.4 Billion. I guess the Indians saw that big check coming from Microsoft and wanted their share of it. This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

    • This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

      But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

      • This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

        But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

        Have you tried turning off and back on again?

      • Philippines people. Haven't you heard? it's the new "Cloud" buzzword for support.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

        But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

        Maybe someone who actually knows the answer?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by singhulariti (1963000)
      Funny how when the US govt. accuses tech companies of avoiding taxes, the tech companies are evil and when India asserts the same thing they are thieves.
      • Actually we know that big tech companies are evil (they are motivated by profit for shareholders and little else). What is catching everyone's eye, and fitting well with our collective understanding of India's economy and politcs, is how fast that thievery was "solved". At least in the EU or US the owed taxes would have taken a few months to work their way through the courts. In India it is solved in days. The first thing I thought, and many others did too, is that somewhere there are some Indian offici

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In the EU/US, people know in advance what the laws is and what taxes should be paid and there would have been no problem in first place. In this case, laws were changed in 2012 (finance act of 2012) and they want to retroactively apply them to Nokia by charging for taxes going back to 2006.

    • by formfeed (703859)

      I can't believe it.
      Already seven messages calling Indians corrupt and thieves, and no mention of government subsidies for the reservations.

  • Do not bring big business to India under any circumstances. I have been warned.
  • With transfer of ownership comes the great opportunity to turn the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships [mobilephonethrowing.fi] into an exclusive Microsoft event.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @05:39PM (#45674745)

    ...the real reason this got cleared is that MS assured the Indian government that all Nokia phones in India would have a backdoor accessible by the Indian government, like they demanded from BlackBerry?

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