Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion after a court cleared the way for the sale.
A Los Angeles judge confirmed Shelly Sterling could sell the basketball franchise over the objections of her estranged husband Donald Sterling.
Donald Sterling, the owner since 1981, was banned from the sport for life after he was recorded making racist remarks.
The $2 billion sale price is the highest ever paid for an NBA team.
“Really excited – in a pretty hardcore way to continue the path to making the Clippers a better and better basketball team, and a better and better citizen of the Los Angeles community,” said Steve Ballmer.
Steve Ballmer has purchased Donald Sterling’s LA Clippers for $2 billion after a court cleared the way for the sale
Steve Ballmer moved quickly after the Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas signed the order authorizing the sale even if Donald Sterling’s lawyers filed an appeal.
“We were ready,” lawyer Adam Streisand said.
“Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered.”
LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers had threatened to quit if he remained owner.
Point guard and president of the players association Chris Paul suggested he would sit out and try to convince other players to join him if Donald Sterling continued to own the franchise.
The 80-year-old real estate businessman had fought in court over a deal his wife said he had initially praised.
Richard Parsons will continue as interim chief executive, Steve Ballmer added.
The sale ends Donald Sterling’s run as the longest-tenured owner in the NBA.
Donald Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981, moving the team from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984.
Donald Sterling has said he will never sell LA Clippers basketball team during heated exchanges in court.
Donald Sterling, 80, is contesting in court his wife Shelly’s decision to sell the basketball team franchise to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Steve Ballmer wants the judge to confirm she can do so.
The NBA said it wanted to force Donald Sterling to sell after he was recorded making racist remarks in April.
The court case in Los Angeles deals with allegations that Shelly Sterling used medical tests of his mental capacity to remove him as a trustee and deceive him into selling.
In May, Shelly Sterling told her husband to seek an evaluation by two doctors, who declared him “mentally incapacitated” and unfit to administer his duties as trustee of the Sterling Family Trust.
This in effect handed her control of the Clippers.
Donald Sterling is contesting in court his wife Shelly’s decision to sell the basketball team franchise to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (photo AP)
Shelly Sterling told the court she had sent her husband for medical tests after seeing “frightening changes”.
She was eventually told he had early signs of Alzheimer’s, she said.
There were sharp exchanges in court as Donald Sterling insulted his estranged wife.
“Get away from me, you pig,” he said, adding: “Shelly, how could you lie?”
From the witness box Donald Sterling then shouted: “I will never ever sell this team, and until I die I will be suing the NBA for this terrible violation.”
Donald Sterling argues he could raise more money than Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion offer by selling TV rights and winning an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA.
If the judge in Los Angeles rules Shelly Sterling acted unlawfully, the deal with Steve Ballmer could be invalidated and the sale of the franchise revoked.
The racism allegations led to the NBA fining Donald Sterling $2.5 million and banning him from basketball for life.
In a 10-minute audio recording published on celebrity website TMZ in April, Donald Sterling was heard telling a woman, subsequently identified as his girlfriend V Stiviano, not to associate in public with black people nor bring them to Clippers games.
The remarks drew widespread condemnation from fans, retired basketball stars and President Barack Obama.
Donald Sterling is suing the NBA, alleging it violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording.
Donald Sterling has agreed to sell LA Clippers for $2 billion and drop his lawsuit against the NBA, his lawyer says.
Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, told reporters his client had “made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences”.
Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is set to buy LA Clippers in a record sale.
Donald Sterling was fined $2.5 million and banned for life from the league after racist comments he made became public.
Donald Sterling has agreed to sell LA Clippers for $2 billion and drop his lawsuit against the NBA
The NBA announced the ban and fine soon after an audio recording of Donald Sterling emerged in the US media in April, in which he was heard asking a woman not to associate in public with black people nor to bring them to games.
In a subsequent interview with CNN, he said he apologized for a “terrible mistake” and insisted he had been “baited” into making the remarks.
But last week he sued the NBA in federal court, alleging it had violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording.
He also sued for damages for the forceful termination of his ownership, but Maxwell Blecher said on Wednesday this lawsuit was now dismissed.
The other team owners in the league will vote on this proposed sale in mid-July, Donald Sterling’s legal team said.
If they approve the sale, it will be a record sum for a team that cost Donald Sterling about $12 million in 1981.
Last week, Steve Ballmer said in a statement he was honored to have his name put forward to the NBA for approval.
Satya Nadella will be Microsoft’s next chief executive, the technology giant has announced.
Indian-born Satya Nadella is currently Microsoft’s head of Cloud and Enterprise, which builds and runs the firm’s computing platforms and developer tools.
Satya Nadella takes over from Steve Ballmer who announced plans to step down last year.
Company’s founder Bill Gates said there was “no better person to lead Microsoft”.
Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman, it was also announced, but will take up a new role as a technology adviser and will also retain a seat on Microsoft’s board.
Microsoft’s lead independent director John Thompson will take over as chairman.
“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” said Satya Nadella.
“The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”
Satya Nadella will be Microsoft’s next chief executive
Satya Nadella, 46, is Microsoft’s third chief executive. The Hyderabad-born executive joined the company in 1992 and has degrees in electronics, computer science and business administration.
He previously led its server and tools business before being put in charge of the unit that built Microsoft’s Cloud OS service, which powers products such as Bing, Skype and Xbox Live.
“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates.
“Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”
Bill Gates’ appointment as a technology adviser is seen as significant, suggesting he may again take a more hands-on role in the company he founded nearly 40 years ago.
Satya Nadella’s appointment ends months of speculation over who would succeed Steve Ballmer, who announced his intention to stand down in August last year.
At one stage incoming chairman John Thompson said more than 100 possible candidates had been identified.
Rumored to be among them were the boss of car giant Ford, Alan Mulally, and Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop.
Investors have been calling for new leadership at the Microsoft, saying it needs a significant shakeup in order to become more innovative and profitable.
Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone unit for 5.4 billion euros ($7.2 billion).
Nokia will also license its patents and mapping services to Microsoft. Nokia shares jumped 45% on news of the deal.
The purchase is set to be completed in early 2014, when about 32,000 Nokia employees will transfer to Microsoft.
While Nokia has struggled against competition from Samsung and Apple, Microsoft has been criticized for being slow into the mobile market.
“It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies,” Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said in a statement.
The transaction is subject to approval by Nokia shareholders and regulators.
Microsoft, one of the biggest names in the technology sector, has struggled as consumers have shunned traditional PCs and laptops in favor of smartphones and tablet PCs.
Critics say the firm has been too slow to respond to the booming market for mobile devices. It launched its Surface tablet PCs last year, but sales of the devices have been relatively slow.
Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone unit for 5.4 billion euros
Analysts said that the company wanted to make sure that it got its strategy right in the mobile phone market.
Nokia was once a leader in mobile phones, but the firm’s sales fell 24% in the three months to the end of June from a year earlier.
It sold 53.7 million mobile phones during the quarter, down 27% on last year.
However, sales of its new Lumia phones, which run a Microsoft operating system, rose during the period.
Microsoft has also agreed a 10-year licensing arrangement with Nokia to use the Nokia brand on current mobile phone products.
Nokia also announced changes to its leadership team as a result of the sale.
Stephen Elop will step down as president and chief executive of Nokia Corporation and resign from the company’s board.
The firm said that he would become the executive vice president of the Devices & Services unit, adding that it expected him to “transfer to Microsoft at the anticipated closing” of the deal.
The transfer of Stephen Elop to Microsoft comes at a time when the company is looking for a new chief executive.
The current head of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, announced last week that he would be retiring and is expected to leave the company within the next 12 months.
Stephen Elop who left Microsoft to join Nokia in 2010, has been cited by some as one of the frontrunners to replace Steve Ballmer.
Nokia said that once the sale is completed, it will concentrate on three key businesses – network equipment manufacturing, mapping and location services, and the development and licensing of technology.
Earlier this year, it agreed to buy Siemens’ 50% stake in their joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which makes telecoms network equipment, for 1.7 billion euros.
Microsoft has unveiled a touch-ready version of Office, the latest version of the company’s market-leading productivity software suite.
In San Francisco, Steve Ballmer described Office 2013 as the firm’s “most ambitious release” to date.
The software is primed for mobile devices, cloud computing, and social networking.
Office is the globe’s most popular productivity application, with a billion users worldwide.
It is also Microsoft’s key revenue driver, and keeping it fresh is how the firm intends to maintain its market lead.
Throughout his hour-long demonstration on Monday, Steve Ballmer and Kirk Koenigsbauer, vice-president of Microsoft’s Office division, highlighted how the software had been adapted to keep pace with technology changes.
Microsoft Office 2013 is fully touch-ready, as is Windows 8, the company’s latest operating system, and its new tablet computer, Surface, which is expected to be available in October.
Surface will hit stores some two-and-a-half years after Apple launched its iPad onto the market, and analysts say the power of Office gives Microsoft its best chance at gaining a genuine foothold in the tablet market.
Steve Ballmer described Microsoft Office 2013 as the firm's "most ambitious release" to date
For the first time, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are all responsive to touch-screen controls – taps, swipes, and pinch-and-zoom can be used within documents, files and presentations.
The user-experience is designed to be more “immersive,” “visceral” and “multimedia-rich” compared to earlier version of Office, Steve Ballmer said.
• Documents, slides, and presentations can be marked up on mobile screens, drawn on, highlighted or annotated with a digital pen, stylus or even a finger.
• Skype, bought for $8.5 billion in 2011, and Yammer, a social network for businesses, are being rolled into Office: live, multi-party conversations and meetings can be created with Skype video and accessed within Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook.
• New “People Cards” include an individual’s digital “presence” – a photo, options to email, instant message, phone or video chat, and activity feeds from the social networks Facebook and Linkedin.
• Skydrive automatically saves and syncs all Office documents in an online, cloud-based storage service. This makes files and content created in Office available on demand across computing devices.
In 2011, Microsoft Office was worth $14 billion, more than half the company’s profits, according to Michael Silver, a research analyst at Gartner.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of competition here because Microsoft still has over 90% of the market,” said Michael Silver.
While less expensive and free online alternatives to Office like Google Apps and Zoho have become available, no company is taking away significant market share from Microsoft yet, he said.
“Microsoft has been competing against free for over 10 years with the open source products and in terms of cheap with Google.”
“But the compatibility issues… [have] been a bigger hurdle for people than a lot of people would have expected and it has kept the vast majority of users in the Microsoft camp,” Michael Silver noted.
Andy McLoughlin, co-founder of Huddle, a cloud computing start-up in San Francisco that competes with Microsoft’s Sharepoint software for online content management, sees Office as dominant in the workplace, but faltering elsewhere.
“Office is still seen as the de facto productivity suite for the workplace,” he agreed.
“I think it’s got a few years yet. Microsoft is still pretty clever in terms of the way that they license the software for big companies and so there’s a certain degree of lock-in.”
“When you talk about consumers, though, I don’t really know any people who, unless they have a license through work, would keep Office on their machine.
“Why spend several hundred dollars on software when you are really only using one or 2% of the functionality?”