Nokia picks Windows platform, forms alliance with Microsoft

Top mobile phonemaker Nokia is adopting the Windows Phone platform after announcing in a media conference in London that it is forming a broad strategic partnership with software behemoth Microsoft.

The epic alliance comes after a leaked message attributed to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop spread in cyberspace this week.

With Nokia’s planned move to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, the Finnish firm said Symbian will become a “franchise platform”.

“This strategy recognizes the opportunity to retain and transition the installed base of 200 million Symbian owners. Nokia expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices in the years to come,” the phonemaker said..

Under the new strategy, Nokia’s MeeGo will now just become an “open-source, mobile operating system project”. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences, it said.

Nokia said it still plans to ship a MeeGo-related products later this year.

Come April 1, Nokia said it will have a new company structure, which features two distinct business units: smart devices and mobile phones.

“They will focus on Nokia’s key business areas: high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones. Each unit will have profit-and-loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing,” the company said.

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,” Elop, said at the joint news 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.”

“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.”

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