Nearly a year and a half on and, with Lumia mobile phone range failing so far to revive sales, Nokia's position still looks frail.
Its shares have lost 90% in five years and its debt is rated junk by two of the three major ratings agencies. Mighty Microsoft Corp, Elop's former employer and whose software Lumia is based on, has to step in to help Nokia out, seeing the Finnish company as a valuable point of entry into the cellphone market.
Analysts have attributed Nokia's decline in large part to its late response to Apple Inc, whose iPhone redefined the smartphone market in 2007. Some see a marriage with Microsoft as possibly a last chance to turn the group around.
For Microsoft the relationship is important, because Nokia was its first major break into the smartphone market after a decade of heavy investment. In the interim, other cellphone makers chose to use their own software - as did Apple - or favoured Google Inc's Android.
"If Nokia ends up in financial difficulties I believe the helping hand would be there," said Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies. Nokia and Microsoft declined to comment.
Microsoft is already paying Nokia $1-billion a year to use its software on Lumia smartphones and investment bankers familiar with the technology sector say the support could go well beyond that if Nokia's problems intensify.
"I don't see Microsoft owning Nokia, but it would definitely provide financing to the tune of a couple of billion dollars," said one veteran technology banker. Any Microsoft support for Nokia would be more likely to take the form of an inter-company loan, or an equity stake, rather than a full takeover, a second banker said.
Even though Microsoft has nearly $60-billion of cash on its balance sheet, the company has traditionally steered clear of the hardware business, because it does not want to compete with the manufacturers that use its software.
Yet other priorities may override that consideration. At the same time, some bankers believe Nokia, which has a market value of à9.3-billion, is an unlikely target for other cellphone makers because of its deep integration with Microsoft.
"I don't see it as a target for private equity either. It is still too expensive and too volatile," said a third banker. You would have to be prepared to catch a falling knife."