Microsoft and Nokia have announced a broad mobile phone partnership that joins two powerful, but lagging, companies into mutually reliant allies in the mobile phone market.
As expected, Nokia plans to use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system as part of a plan to recover from competitive failings detailed in Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop's "burning platform" memo, but it's deeper than just an agreement to install the OS on Nokia's phones.
Instead, the companies will cooperate tightly under an agreement the companies currently describe as proposed, not final. Under this agreement Windows Phone 7 will become Nokia's "principal" operating system, and Nokia will help Microsoft develop it and ensure a broad range of phones using it are available globally.
Nokia will also use Microsoft's online services, many of which trail its Google counterparts, such as Bing for search and maps, and AdCenter for advertisements.
Nokia, once the dominant power of the mobile phone industry, has ceded the smartphone initiative to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, and Elop believes Nokia's own Symbian and MeeGo operating systems aren't competitive. Microsoft has tried for years to penetrate the mobile phone market and although it now has a credible option with Windows Phone 7, it trails Android when it comes to developer interest and the breadth of phones available.
The two companies hope their combined might will be more convincing for software authors debating whether they need to bring their apps to yet another ecosystem. It's not yet clear how the alliance will extend to another hot new market, tablets, where Microsoft prefers Windows to its Windows Phone operating system. In contrast, iOS and Android developers enjoy the same operating system on phones and tablets.
Elop is set to detail the proposal later today at an analyst meeting in London.
The announcement was accompanied by a YouTube video featuring Microsoft and Nokia's chief executives praising the deal.
"Today, Nokia and Microsoft intend to enter into a strategic alliance," Elop said in the video, a precursor of a turnaround plan he's set to detail later today at an analyst conference in London. "Together, we will bring consumers a new mobile experience, with stellar hardware, innovative software and great services. We will create opportunities beyond anything that currently exists."
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the partnership "brings the brands mobile consumers want, like Bing, Office and, of course, Xbox Live".
Via CNET News