With Nokia, Microsoft finally ready to become a hardware company (roundup)

Not content with its close partnership with Nokia (s nok), Microsoft (s msft) announced late Monday that it has agreed to purchase the Devices and Services division of Nokia for a little over $7 billion. If the deal closes as expected in the first quarter of next year, Microsoft will own one of the world’s most storied smartphone operations, albeit one that has fallen quite a bit over the last ten years as the smartphone market has evolved.

The deal would create a combined organization that Microsoft hopes will rival Apple and Google, the smartphone leaders of the world, and accelerate Microsoft’s transition from a software giant to a hardware maker in its own right.

Here’s our coverage so far: