updated 04:35 am EST, Mon December 20, 2010
An unholy alliance, or salvation?
Eldar Murtazin, a highly respected Russian tech blogger has claimed that Nokia is in secret talks with Microsoft for an alliance. He bases his claim on the delay of the forthcoming Nokia E7 into 2011, reliability problems with the N8 and the recent cutting of hundreds of staff many of whom were associated with the development of Symbian^3.
While Nokia remains the number one handset manufacturer in the world, Murtazin argues that this is only courtesy of its candy bar "dumbphones" such as the 2720, 6303 and 6700. Nokia's efforts in the smartphone segment have stumbled as Symbian^ 3 does not match iOS or Android, and its flagship N8 is will continue to run a single core chip until at least 2012. Most of Nokia's smartphone competitors will continue to have a substantial and perhaps insurmountable lead in both hardware and software.
Murtazin purports that MeeGo is not where Nokia is looking for salvation in the battle for smartphone supremacy, but rather that it has been in secret discussions with Microsoft to deploy Windows Phone 7 on its future smartphones. The move, according to Murtazin, has been initiated by Nokia's new leadership.
Murtazin is well-known for accurate leaks and has often been the recipient of pre-release Nokia handsets. The tone of his article suggests that Nokia's shift to Windows Phone 7 as its smartphone OS is inevitable. Time will, of course, be the judge of the accuracy of Murtazin's claims. Strategically, such a partnership would make sense for both Microsoft and for Nokia. The Nokia name still carries significant weight with consumers around the world, as does Microsoft's branding.
Both companies are seeking to remain relevant in the increasingly critical smartphone segment and both face an uphill battle in doing so. The combination of the two tech giants could be the kick start that both need in order to be able to challenge Android and iOS.