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Nokia’s shareholders have given the green light to Microsoft’s takeover of the Finnish phone-maker, with 99.7% of the company’s investors approving the deal.

Microsoft will now stump up $7.35 billion (£4.5 billion) for Nokia’s devices and services, as well as paying to licence its mapping technology. The move means we could see Microsoft phones in early 2014, as Nokia fades into the background.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who is due to work for Microsoft and oversee its mobile business, could soon be promoted to CEO of the Big M, with Steve Ballmer set to stand down in the New Year.

Lumia sales have surged this year, sparking fresh hope at Microsoft that the critical acclaim for Nokia smartphones will help it take on Google and Apple’s two-pronged assault in the next few years.

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