Nokia said on Friday that it plans to partner with Microsoft to offer Windows Phone 7 devices.
Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop, is due to speak further about the company’s Windows Phone 7 plans at a Strategy and Financial Briefing later today. The company announced its plans on Friday morning ahead of the briefing. In a joint statement by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, the pair outlined their future:
“Today, the battle is moving from one of mobile devices to one of mobile ecosystems, and our strengths here are complementary. Ecosystems thrive when they reach scale, when they are fueled by energy and innovation and when they provide benefits and value to each person or company who participates. This is what we are creating; this is our vision; this is the work we are driving from this day forward.”
Ballmer said he was excited by the partnership. “Ecosystems thrive when fueled by speed, innovation and scale.The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute,” he said.
The announcement comes days after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop issued a 1,300 word internal memo to the company’s employees recently spelling. Elop admitted throughout the memo that competitors are doing better and that Nokia’s current ecosystem is a “burning platform”.
Rumors of a Nokia Windows Phone 7 partnership were rife since Elop’s departure from Microsoft to Nokia in September, 2010. Speculation began when it was reported that Nokia was in talks with Microsoft to look at offering Windows Phone 7 devices. The talks were kick started by Nokia’s new management. Stephen Elop, ex-Microsoft employee, joined Nokia last year as the company’s CEO.
Investment analyst, Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank, wrote to Microsoft and Nokia recently, urging them to partner for Windows Phone 7 handsets. Ahmad issued a note with his recommendations for Microsoft, asking for an exclusive deal with Nokia to improve its U.S. market share. Ahmad also recommended that Nokia pushes its Symbian solutions into the low-to-mid-range smartphone market “as quickly as possible”.
All eyes are now on Mobile World Congress. Nokia is planning to hold a press event on Sunday and it’s likely that the firm will unveil its Windows Phone 7 device. Nokia summarized it’s announcements in a blog posting on Friday:
- Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
- Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
- Nokia and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
- Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
- Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.
- Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
- Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
- Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services so customers can do more with their phone, across their work and personal lives.
- Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.