Today Nokia and Microsoft have announced a partnership that will collectively leverage Microsoft and Nokia's strengths and resources. Although the fruit of this long-term partnership will primarily affect Windows Phone 7 and Nokia's smartphone line-up, other areas of either companies business' will also be getting some of the good stuff.

The partnership primarily aims to leverage Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform and eco-system along with Nokia's hardware expertise and market/carrier reach around the world to build a new line-up of Nokia branded smartphones running Microsoft's mobile OS. But things aren't as cut and dry. Although the software driving these devices will be WP7, Nokia will be integrating some of its own software components into the platform. Primarily, this will be the excellent 'Maps' application, which moving forward, Microsoft will also be using in its own Bing eco-system.

Although Nokia insists that Symbian and Meego will not die, it is quite clear that Symbian will eventually be put to rest and whatever core Symbian IP Nokia has, could be absorbed into the Windows Phone codebase. Meego on the other hand will continue to live the existence as Nokia's 'expirmental platform' of choice, with a Meego device expected sometime this year. Nokia has also mentioned that it's 'Qt' framework will not be coming to WP7.

Clearly, the mobile devices market in 2011 is going to be much more interesting (and potentially beneficial) for the consumer. Apple and Google will seriously have to re-think their stratergies now that they have three very strong and able competitors in HP's excellent webOS, RIM's promising QNX and now Nokia-Microsoft's extensive partnership.

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  • Ben90 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Aww, they changed it... Good for a morning lol though
  • bplewis24 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    This is huge for Microsoft. They had very little chance of taking significant market share from Apple/Google without something like this. Now, assuming Nokia stays relatively close to their current market share, this would instantly make them a global competitor. What I'm curious about, however, is how this impacts their domestic prospects. Nokia doesn't really have much of a presence here in the States.

    Btw, Microsoft is misspelled in the title.

  • vol7ron - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    This is bad news.

    Microsoft's best bet was to get it on as many devices as it could. Locking it into one distributor is a poor decision for the OS. Sure it guarantees a product, but Nokia products really haven't be anything to write home about as of late. Nokia's market-share is on a decline and Microsoft will just go down with it.

    It's sort of like a computer, the weakest part is your bottleneck. Your chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That also exists for mobile phones. You need to provide the best hardware and software at a competitive price - WP7 might be good software, but without the high quality touchscreen software, which Nokia is not known for, I'm not sure this is going to work. Nokia was best with plastics - putting cheap plastic phones together and somehow making them durable - this sounds like Palm all over again.
  • bplewis24 - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    But is Microsoft locked to one distributor? I wasn't under that impression.

    Mithun, when will we get some analysis on this partnership? This is pretty big news, but it does beg a few questions.

    1) How does this affect MS' partnerships with other mobile device vendors like LG, Samsung and HTC? They weren't allowed to put their custom skins on and weren't very aggressive in their WP7 product cycles to begin with. What now?

    2) How realistic is it to expect WP7 to be ported to current Nokia hardware in development, or is this something that will take a few product cycles to actually make it to market? Remember, WP7 had some very stringent hardware requirements for all of it's vendors to be able to license the OS. Are those going to be lax for Nokia? Do they get even further preferential treatment?

  • mythun.chandra - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, since AT wasn't at the event itself, we haven't been able to get hold of a lot more information that what is openly available. However, that being said I can answer your questions with reasonable confidence:

    1) As it stands, Nokia is going to be just another hardware vendor for MS WP7. Nokia has also mentioned that although it can if it wants to, it will steer away from going in for deep customizations on its implementation of WP7.

    2) I don't think it is very realistic to expect current Nokia hardware to get WP7. As mentioned in the article, Nokia plans to continue using Symbian for the short term. Plus, considering the fact that apart from the N900, all the other Nokia phones in the recent past have ARM11 CPU's (with only a handful even having GPU's), I don't think either Microsoft or Nokia would be interested in porting over WP7 to existing phones.
  • Kepe - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    I wrote some of the main points of the press event in to a comment currently at the last place.

    It seems that Nokia will be more than just another hardware vendor for WP7. Please read my other comment for more =)
  • tipoo - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    They aren't locking it in.
  • vol7ron - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Well that's good news and so I retract my last comment.
  • vailr - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Could use some clarification: on what hardware/firmware/chipset changes might be required, when Nokia drops Symbian and switches over to WP7.
    I'm guessing that they could NOT easily re-program existing Symbian "smart phones" and switch over to WP7, but your article doesn't exactly say as much.
  • fabarati - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Only the N900 can even run WP7 in its current shape, but it doesn't meet the actual requirements: capacitive, multi-touch 800x480 screen and 1 GHz Armv7 cpu. So no, non of the current Nokia smartphones will be upgraded.

    And there's no need for the quotation marks, they are smartphones by any metric. Even the older ones.

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