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Nokia to use Windows Phone: 'it's now a three-horse race'

updated 07:30 am EST, Fri February 11, 2011

Nokia and Microsoft strike Windows Phone deal

Nokia during its financial meeting today confirmed a historic deal with Microsoft to switch primarily to Windows Phone in return for key deals. The phone maker will use Windows Phone as its "principal" smartphone strategy for the future, including the use of mobile Office and Xbox Live. Bing will be primary search engine across all of Nokia's platforms, and Microsoft's adCenter will provide mobile ads.

The apps and content from the Ovi Store will be subsumed into the Windows Phone Marketplace, the two companies added. Apps will have to be made with Microsoft's tools and won't work with Nokia's cross-platform Qt.

MeeGo and Symbian are still in development, Nokia said, but will change roles. A MeeGo device is still due in 2011 but will be an open-source project dedicated to "longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences." Symbian would now be there to support an established ecosystem as it would be "leveraging previous investments." The aim would be to ultimately transition those customers, Nokia said. Smart Devices Lead Jo Harlow will take control of MeeGo, Symbian smartphones and Strategic Business Operations.

In return for using Windows Phone, Microsoft will also take cues from Nokia. The American OS developer will take cues from Nokia on hardware design as well as expanding distribution, including new countries, languages and smartphone price categories. It will take advantage of Nokia's experience in making carrier billing deals to get Windows Phone into areas where few if any use credit cards.

Bing and adCenter will also integrate Nokia Maps and should lead to a "unique local search and advertising experience."

Nokia hasn't said when its first Windows Phone hardware will ship, but it has promised its collaboration is "unique" and will let Nokia stand out among others using the platform. The two engineering teams have already been meeting together, Nokia chief Stephen Elop said.

The two companies cast the deal as both bringing Nokia into relevance with a modern smartphone ecosystem and catapulting Windows Phone into serious contention by taking advantage of Nokia's scale. They now expected that the combination would be able to compete with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android.

"Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale," Elop said. "It's now a three-horse race."

The deal if implemented quickly could thrust Microsoft back into the upper echelons of smartphone market share on at least a temporary basis. Although Nokia's share has been falling fast, it remains the leading smartphone maker, although not necessarily by platform. The company still has edges in Africa, Asia and the Middle East where North American rivals like Apple, Google and RIM are only just getting established.

The move is nonetheless a gamble as it could represent a step backwards in some areas even as it moves forward. Until the two major OS updates expected this year, WP7 won't have copy-and-paste text or multitasking. Symbian has also traditionally been more flexible in software where Microsoft has relatively strict requirements.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Geoduck

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2010


    "It's now a three-horse race."

    No it's a two horse race with Nokia jumping on a mule and pretending it's Secratariat.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    A Picture's Worth A Thousand (Horse) Turrds

    So the man overboard who's been struggling to keep his head above water just struck a deal with a manufacturer of anvils and has asked them to toss him a few. Brilliant.

  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Thank goodness

    Now both can ride each others sinking ship down a little quicker.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999



    I can only imagine that Nokia's forefathers are spinning in their graves to see their company's survival hitched to a deal with the devil. What a bunch of maroons! They should've taken the left turn at Albuquerque!

  1. dynsight

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    4 horse race

    Although it really is still a three horse race, he should have said 4

    1) Android
    2) iOS
    3) RIM

    and the new Nokia Windows 7 makes 4

  1. imactheknife

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2003



    THats what I have always wanted as a consumer...BING, crapfix err orfice, I mean umm office and XBOX live on a phone....sign me up Baldy!

  1. Marook

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 1999


    The nail..

    .. in the coffin!
    How in the world does Nokia think they can compete with an OS that close-to-noone will even touch if it was free???

    Seriously - I did not think the finnish people was that stupid - but then again, they hired a guy from Microsoft to run it.. ROFL...

  1. Logic2.6

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    This is the End

    They say a tree stays standing long after it dies. But make no mistake, even as Nokia limps on, years from now historians and fresh-faced MBA students will identify this as the moment at which Nokia's CEO signed its death warrant, to his board's applause. It's AOL Time Warner all over again, except that instead of just burning through shareholder equity, this CEO is pouring quick-mix cement into his company's freshly dug grave.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Don't count your chickens yet

    I'd love for Windows Phone 7 to fail, and it is certainly failing right now, but:

    1. Never underestimate the potential of sales to businesses. If Microsoft can convince the world's corporate IT departments that Office integration on phones (or access to complete Outlook integration) is really important, then Nokia basically has an assured market because they're a big, well-established brand.

    2. Apple was once in an even worse position than Nokia is now, and managed to bounce back. So it is at least possible, although who knows whether Nokia can manage it. (Microsoft will at the very least be giving them free engineering and advertising, and possibly even subsidies, so they've got a realistic shot.)

    3. Nokia wants to make low-end smartphones. Between their historical offerings and the subsidies from Microsoft which they will be getting, they could manage to undercut even the Android phones on price, and although WP7 is crappy, it is still a smartphone OS. There's a scarily large number of people who would rather have something crappy than something good if they can save just a little money. (See also:"a sucker born every minute.)

  1. yticolev

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 2002


    Many horse race

    1. Android
    2. iOS
    3. RIM
    4. Windows Phone
    5. WebOS
    6. Symbian

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