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February 11, 2011

Nokia partners with Microsoft on smartphones

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by Darren Allan

These days, it’s clear Nokia is in some degree of hot water. It was still the leading manufacturer in yesterday’s figures from Gartner for the global mobile market, but its share had slipped considerably from 36.4% to 28.9%.

In fact, its own CEO, Stephen Elop, commented this week that the company was standing on a “burning platform”, never mind just hot water, caught off-guard by the success of Apple and Android.

It’s evident that Symbian isn’t cutting it as an OS, and MeeGo is a doubtful successor, so Nokia has been looking at other options. Namely, the strategic partnership with Microsoft which was rumoured last year.

Yes, Nokia is going to be making Windows Phone 7 handsets. In fact, the OS will become the Finnish company’s principal platform when it comes to smartphones.

But we can’t help our immediate reaction of “out of the frying pan, and into the fire”, seeing as Windows Phone 7 hasn’t exactly got off to an electric start itself. Although perhaps Nokia getting behind the OS will help lift it from the current humdrum sales levels it seems to be tootling along with.

Or, perhaps, in the cutting words of Google’s Vic Goduntra, quoted by the Telegraph: “Two turkeys don’t make an eagle.” Ouch.

Elop is an ex-Microsoft man himself, of course, so working with the Redmond-based company won’t exactly be a new experience.

Nokia will use Bing to power search on its devices, and Nokia Maps will become a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. Also, Nokia’s app store is expected to be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace.

Elop commented on the deal: “Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience.”

“Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

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