You read that right, Microsoft is set to acquire Nokia’s hardware division for $7.17-billion cash. To be more specific, they’re buying Nokia’s “cellphone unit for 3.79 billion Euros ($5 billion), and spending another 1.65 billion Euros ($2.18 billion) to license Nokia’s patent portfolio, for a total of 5.44 billion Euros ($7.17 billion).” Continue reading for the news report and more information.

Once the deal is done, a number of Nokia executives will join Microsoft, including Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive who is seen as among the top contenders to replace CEO Steve Ballmer. Also set to join Microsoft are Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen and Chris Weber.

At the very least, this means you’ll continue to see pretty new Windows Phones every few months, but if that’s all it is, and Microsoft can only muster up more of what it’s been doing, it won’t matter who’s making the phones. This could end up simply keeping Microsoft in a game that’s already stacked against it. Time will tell.

[Sources 1 | 2]