Steve Ballmer tried to fly to Helsinki in January to finalise a deal to put Microsoft software on Nokia phones, but bad weather almost killed the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.Microsoft began talking with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in November, a mere month after he left his job leading Microsoft’s business software division.
Elop also talked to Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Android head Andy Rubin about using Android. As negotiations unfolded, Nokia grew worried that Microsoft was treating it like just another handset partner instead of the biggest phone maker in the world — and owner of the market-leading (for now) Symbian smartphone platform.
So in January, Ballmer wanted to fly to Nokia headquarters to show how serious Microsoft was and to seal the deal.
But his private plane couldn’t land in Helsinki because of snow and fog, so Ballmer ended up in Stockholm, Sweden, where he caught a commercial flight to Helsinki. His cover was almost blown in the airport when a loudspeaker paged Ballmer by name because of a problem with the ticket.
Evidently the personal touch worked, and the negotiations ended in Microsoft’s favour.