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Nokia and Microsoft form mobile partnership

Windows Phone, Bing and adCenter to be integrated into Nokia handsets in the future

Nokia and Microsoft have announced plans to form a partnership in the mobile space that the companies hope will help it compete more effectively against the iOS and Android platforms.

Just days after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop - a former Microsoft exec - blasted the company's performance in a leaked internal memo, the two businesses have joined forces in a partnership that is likely to see Windows Phone, Bing and adCenter integrated into Nokia handsets 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," said Elop at a London press conference. "Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It's now a three-horse race."

And Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer added: "I am excited about this partnership with Nokia. 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."

The plans incorporate the following proposals:

  • 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.

Nokia, once the dominant force in mobile hardware, has seen its market share fall in the past few years - particularly in the high-end smartphone sector in which Apple is now very strong.

The company also plans to adjust its business structure into two primary divisions, tackling Mobile Phones and Smartphones respectively.

Meanwhile, Microsoft launched Windows 7 last year but face stiff competition from Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems.

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Phil Elliott

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