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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer  (Source: Nokia)

The "third" ecosystem  (Source: Nokia)

Windows Phone 7 will now become Nokia's "primary smartphone platform"
Windows Phone will become Nokia's "primary smartphone platform"

We’ve been talking about it for the past few days, but Nokia and Microsoft made it official this morning – the two companies will enter into a “strategic partnership” when it comes to smartphones. There are a lot of things going on with this announcement, so let’s get one thing out in the open right away – Nokia will not be abandoning its Symbian and MeeGo efforts, at least in the short term.

That being said, Nokia will adopt Windows Phone 7 as its “primary smartphone platform” from this moment forward.  Here's a list of things that will happen under this new guidance that will build a new "global mobile ecosystem" around Windows Phone 7:

  • Nokia will have the freedom to provide its own customizations on top of the existing Windows Phone 7 interface.
  • Microsoft’s Bing search engine will become integrated into Nokia devices and services. Although it's not directly stated, we’re assuming that this will include not only Nokia's Windows Phone 7 devices, but also those running Symbian and MeeGo. Microsoft's adCenter platform will also find its way to Nokia devices.
  • Nokia Ovi Maps will now be integrated with Microsoft's current mapping efforts.
  • Nokia will work with Microsoft to lend a hand in hardware design and language support to help "define the future of Windows Phone", and bring it to more price points and market segments.
  • Nokia application store will be integrated with the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Given that Stephen Elop, Nokia's current President and CEO, was a high-ranking Microsoft executive just a few months ago, we're wondering just how long this move has been in the works. Although no one envisioned that Elop's new position at Nokia would lead to such a drastic shift in smartphone strategy that links him back to his former employer, both companies seem to think that this new alliance will shake up the current smartphone race.

"Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward,” said Elop. "Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future.

“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 unrivaled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”

We can only assuming that by three-horse race that Elop is talking about the new Nokia/Microsoft alliance along with the other two juggernauts in the smartphone race -- Apple's iPhone/iOS and Google's Android platform. RIM and HP/Palm need not apply in Elop’s eyes. 

And we of course can't have such a big announcement coming from the Microsoft camp without having a statement from Steve Ballmer.  “I am excited about this partnership with Nokia,” added Ballmer. “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.”

This shakeup also means that there will be some changes to Nokia's executive structure. While we won't detail all of the shuffling that's going on (you can read about it here), we'll mention this key change. Jo Harlow will lead Nokia's new Smart Devices division starting April 1. Smart Devices will encompass Windows Phone, Symbian, and MeeGo devices. Nokia plans to keep Symbian as a franchise platform and expects to add another 150 million Symbian devices to its current 200 million-device installed base. 

As for MeeGo, it will become an open-source mobile OS project that will "place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences."

Nokia plans to ship just one MeeGo device this year. 

This is all a lot to swallow right now and it will surely be a while before Nokia as a company is comfortable in its new shoes. Nokia's fans have quite a bit to look forward too now that Microsoft is onboard, as the company's current offerings are stagnating in the marketplace.

We'll leave you with this closing statement from an open letter that Elop and Ballmer posted to the Nokia Conversations blog:

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.

Comments     Threshold

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A good move
By Bender 123 on 2/11/2011 8:02:21 AM , Rating: 3
At least Nokia didn't partner with Gawkers redesign team for their OS...

"The phone says I have 18 missed calls, but it will only show one call!!!WTF!!!"

RE: A good move
By Lugaidster on 2/11/2011 9:50:01 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know if it's a good move or not, but the only reason I'd buy a Nokia smartphone is Symbian. Not to say that Symbian is the way to go, or that it's the greatest OS in the world.

I hope they don't leave their current clients without support. Otherwise they're going to have a huge mass of angry clients.

By DanNeely on 2/11/2011 10:05:04 AM , Rating: 3
Nokia will have the freedom to provide its own customizations on top of the existing Windows Phone 7 interface.

This is especially depressing since MS has made nasty threats to people who've rooted their WP7 phones, vs Google's supreme indifference to custom ROMs.

By kaosstar on 2/11/2011 12:30:20 PM , Rating: 3
Google has made it as hard as possible to root, and makes it harder with every patch. I'd hardly call that indifference.

Congrats Nokia!.
By fteoath64 on 2/11/2011 8:05:37 AM , Rating: 4
The mobile world has been waiting for this sort of alliances for a long time. It is the needed synergy for both companies to make a difference in the market that is mutually beneficial. It is going to be tough but doable with plenty of sacrifices on both sides. One of Meego or Symbian has to go in about 3 quarters because the teams as they are, were already resource/talent constrained.

Show the world a version of a mobile OS that you can be proud of and developers will dive into it , in the millions that only Microsoft can muster.

How long until....
By Aloonatic on 2/11/2011 11:46:19 AM , Rating: 2
There's an MS phone?

Is this the fist step in MS buying out Nokia and having it's own mobile phone division, akin to Apple.

This announcement, combined with MS's announcement about Win 8 being able to run on ARM devices too, makes me think that MS are thinking a lot more seriously about the mobile arena.

RE: How long until....
By Aloonatic on 2/13/2011 5:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
Just out interest, why the down rate?

I genuinely thought that it was at least a fairly interesting question to ask. Could it really not be the first stop in MS going into making mobile hardware?

I know that I'm probably not all that popular here, with my stance against some of the fanboys and unwillingness to go along with the flow sometimes, but is it to much to ask for a comment if you don't agree, rather than what often appears to just be a petty, childish down rate. The ratings are, after all, supposed to be about if something is worth reading, not whether you agree or disagree with it. Ironically, I'd agree with a not worth reading this down rate for this comment :o)

By nafhan on 2/11/2011 9:41:38 AM , Rating: 3
Nokia will have the freedom to provide its own customizations on top of the existing Windows Phone 7 interface.
Wasn't "no custom interfaces" one of the good things about WinPho7? I'd bet that - at the least - this will annoy the likes of HTC, etc.

By yuhong on 3/8/2011 11:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
MS did something similar with Corel last decade. Look it up.

Strange File Systems...
By greylica on 2/11/2011 8:31:07 AM , Rating: 1
At least right now, we still confide in Nokia Fat 32 File systems already in use on our Smart Phone Cards.
Once Microsoft release WP for Nokia, you will never read your card anymore in your computer without installing an entire CD/DVD with a super consumption of resources, and lot's of DRM Keys...

A three horse race?
By Tony Swash on 2/11/2011 8:47:33 AM , Rating: 1
Everything about big link ups like this, everything about two fails coming together to try to make a win, everything about the failure of Microsoft's past such strategic moves tells me that this will fail. But who knows, maybe it will fly.

In the meantime I thought this was worth a read

This was also good

Wave your hands
By melgross on 2/11/2011 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 1
Goodbye Nokia.

By Tony Swash on 2/11/2011 11:27:44 AM , Rating: 1
Need Comma
By Treckin on 2/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Need Comma
By NanoTube1 on 2/11/2011 6:54:47 AM , Rating: 4
You're a life saver.

RE: Need Comma
By wushuktl on 2/11/2011 7:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I don't think a comma is actually necessary there. I always thought a comma before the and of a list of items was always optional at best and annoying at worst. He's actually destroying our lives with false requirements and misinformation.

RE: Need Comma
By dgingeri on 2/11/2011 8:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
that comma before the conjunction shows it is a continuation of the larger list:

potatoes, eggs, sausage, and tortillas

otherwise, it sounds more like a single component made up of two other items:

potatoes, eggs, sausage and tortillas

It's a good thing to add that other comma. It clarifies things.

RE: Need Comma
By Shadowself on 2/11/2011 8:57:24 AM , Rating: 5
My appologies for jumping into something that is totally off topic for the article, but...

Actually, the historical rule is that for a simple series a comma is not *required* before the "and". It is clearly a simple series and the final (and only) "and" is the ending conjunction that ties the series together.

However, a compound series has always required a comma before the final "and" for the major series.

potatoes, eggs, sausage, tortillas and salsa
... a simple series and no comma before the "and" is required. Each element in the series is taken as a separate, equal item.

potatoes, eggs, sausage, tortillas, and salsa
This has the exact same meaning as the prior one and is optional -- and has growing acceptance (note the newest version of the Chicago Manual of Style, which came out last quarter, now supports this variant).

potatoes and eggs, sausage, and tortillas and salsa
... a compound series where the comma before the first second "and" shows that it is a conjuction in the major series set and the other two "and" conjunctions are relegated to the minor pairs whithin that major series. In this case the comma before the conjunction "and" is required in order to make the sub groupings clear.

And just for clarity... I rarely follow all the grammar rules when I post online. I know I have violated several grammar, syntax and typographic rules in posting this. I don't care.

Bet on the past
By dani31 on 2/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Bet on the past
By StevoLincolnite on 2/11/2011 7:34:57 AM , Rating: 4
Oh for crying out loud.
So tempted to bite... *Holds back*

RE: Bet on the past
By Da W on 2/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Bet on the past
By tastyratz on 2/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bet on the past
By Flunk on 2/11/2011 7:57:06 AM , Rating: 3
One false step or two isn't the end of a company. If that were so Apple would have died in the 90s.

RE: Bet on the past
By Da W on 2/11/2011 9:49:33 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft has been playing catching up in every markets since it's fondation. It's the company's trademark. Windows - office - explorer(vs netscape in the old days) - xbox - windows mobile before the iphone and android, are all exemples of success after being late to market. Even Zune movie rental is gaining market shares vs iTunes. Yes sometimes a company fails and it's a good thing. But stop focussing only on Vista - windows live search - bing - 1st quarter of windows phone sales - lack of windows tablets on the first year of iPad sales.

RE: Bet on the past
By superPC on 2/11/2011 11:40:50 AM , Rating: 1
and it's evident even from your own post that MS still have time to catch up. xbox was 2 years late to market. kinect was 5 years late. zune was 5 years late. windows, office, internet explorer, are all 2 or more years behind their competitions.

ipad is still less than a year old. plenty of time.

RE: Bet on the past
By StevoLincolnite on 2/11/2011 1:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
and it's evident even from your own post that MS still have time to catch up. xbox was 2 years late to market. kinect was 5 years late. zune was 5 years late. windows, office, internet explorer, are all 2 or more years behind their competitions.

And yet still makes more money than some small countries governments...

RE: Bet on the past
By SSDMaster on 2/11/2011 10:57:57 AM , Rating: 2
Apple did die in the 90's.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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