Microsoft and Nokia decided to reconvene over Memorial Day weekend
in May at the London offices of Simpson Thacher, one of
Microsoft’s law firms, when a small disaster struck.
Mr. Ballmer and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, were
walking across the law firm’s lobby, when Mr. Ballmer —
absorbed in reading a document from Nokia related to the deal —
tripped on a glass coffee table. Letting out a loud shriek, Mr.
Ballmer fell to floor, hit his head and began bleeding above his
Executives from Nokia sequestered in a conference room elsewhere
in the offices were baffled by the sound, wondering whether Mr.
Ballmer was reacting badly to a counter-proposal they had made.
His security detail patched him up, and Mr. Ballmer resumed
By the afternoon of the next day, participants in the discussions
noticed the coffee table was gone.
A bloody mess, both literally and figuratively.