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Nokia partners with Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone as primary platform

This is possibly one of the biggest piece of mobile tech news of the decade. In a joint open letter today Nokia and Microsoft announce that they will come into a strategic partnership to leverage on the respective strengths of both brands to build a new mobile ecosystem to compete with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Just on the top level, here’s what the partnership will entail for both parties.

  • 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.

On the up side, both brands definitely have strengths that each other can leverage on. Windows Phone is a good place for Nokia to start in developing a platform that can truly go up against Andoird and iOS. On Microsoft’s side, aligning with a capable hardware partner like Nokia — who are amongst the best in the world — will give the well received Windows Phone platform a much needed boost to his critical mass. But we’ve been down this road before.

Good intentions are, well, all good but at the end of the day it’s the results that matters. Both Microsoft and Nokia have similar pasts. Both were on top of their game, both got complacent and both got blindsided by the underdogs. Both have their fair share of flops and lemons. Have both learned enough of a lesson in making these lemons to make it stick this time around? On the surface of things, it is an indicative yes but a major change needs to happen.

With recent successes like Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is showing that it has been invigorated with a fresh new way of thinking. It just needs that focus and stamina to sustain this positivity. Nokia on the other hand, has had it’s fair share of good ideas but has time and time again demonstrated its failure in the execution of these good ideas, let’s hope that Microsoft’s positive vibe rub on Nokia real good.

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What will then happen to Symbian and MeeGo? For now our guess is Symbian will probably remain a staple for low-end phones that make up a sizable chunk of Nokia’s profit. As more and more people want smart phones and it gets cheaper and cheaper to produce, the adoption of Windows Phone in entry-level markets will happen but as far as Symbian is concerned, things will remain the same for little while more. As for MeeGo, let’s just say that it is as good as dead.

As for the manufacturers who were the early adopters of the Windows Phone platform. The likes of HTC and LG will obviously feel jilted by this announcement. Will manufacturers abandon ship? Considering current Window Phone devices are not really flying off the shelves, it might be a good idea for manufacturers to cut their losses and call it quits. We’re not sure about this but what is for sure, a single manufacturer scenario is not what Microsoft would want with its mobile platform.

But what will Microfost do to keep third party manufacturers interested in making Windows Phone devices? That is a question for Steve Ballmer to answer.

Microsoft press release and join open letter from Elop and Ballmer after the jump.

News Press Release
Nokia and Microsoft Announce Plans for a Broad Strategic Partnership to Build a New Global Mobile Ecosystem
Companies plan to combine assets and develop innovative mobile products on an unprecedented scale.

LONDON – Feb. 11, 2011 – Nokia and Microsoft today announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia and Microsoft intend to jointly create market-leading mobile products and services designed to offer consumers, operators and developers unrivalled choice and opportunity. As each company would focus on its core competencies, the partnership would create the opportunity for rapid time to market execution. Additionally, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.

Under the proposed partnership:

  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would 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 would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would 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 would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

“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,” Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO, said at a joint news conference in London. “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

“I am excited about this partnership with Nokia,” said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “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.”

Open Letter from CEO Stephen Elop, Nokia and CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
BY STEPHEN ELOP AND STEVE BALLMER POSTED ON THE 11TH OF FEBRUARY 2011 AT 7:20AM

GLOBAL – Today in London, our two companies announced plans for a broad strategic partnership that combines the respective strengths of our companies and builds a new global mobile ecosystem. The partnership increases our scale, which will result in significant benefits for consumers, developers, mobile operators and businesses around the world. We both are incredibly excited about the journey we are on together.

While the specific details of the deal are being worked out, here’s a quick summary of what we are working towards:

  • 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.

We each bring incredible assets to the table. Nokia’s history of innovation in the hardware space, global hardware scale, strong history of intellectual property creation and navigation assets are second to none. Microsoft is a leader in software and services; the company’s incredible expertise in platform creation forms the opportunity for its billions of customers and millions of partners to get more out of their devices.

Together, we have some of the world’s most admired brands, including Windows, Office, Bing, Xbox Live, NAVTEQ and Nokia. We also have a shared understanding of what it takes to build and sustain a mobile ecosystem, which includes the entire experience from the device to the software to the applications, services and the marketplace.

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.

There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.

There will be challenges. We will overcome them.

Success requires speed. We will be swift.

Together, we see the opportunity, and we have the will, the resources and the drive to succeed.