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Microsoft, Nokia kept secrets from each other before buyout

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Sat September 7, 2013

Microsoft buying Nokia will tear down secrecy walls

One outgrowth of Microsoft's recent transaction with Nokia may be somewhat unexpected: the two companies will no longer keep secrets from each other. Speaking with CNet on Friday, Windows Phone vice president Joe Belfiore said that, despite the two companies close cooperation, there were still operational developments that Microsoft would not reveal to Nokia and vice versa. Having brought Nokia's wireless operations under the Microsoft umbrella, cooperation and coordination on hardware and software will apparently receive a large boost.

"We would make changes in the software, or prioritize things in the software," Belfiore said, "unaware of the work that they're doing. And then late in the cycle we'd find out and say, 'If we had known that we would have done this other thing differently and it would have turned out better!'"

Belfiore doesn't give specific examples of such interactions, but his comments illustrate the difficulties Microsoft has had in adjusting to the "post-PC" computing landscape. Google's Android moved into the space that Windows would have occupied: that of the widespread, licensed operating system. Apple's tight integration of software and hardware has occupied much of the space left over.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's Windows Phone work tell The Verge that Nokia was previously disappointed with restrictions on the camera software for its Lumia 1020. Nokia developers were frustrated by limitations placed on large image file storage and access, but it is unclear whether such frustrations were ever aired to Microsoft personnel.

Reportedly, that incidence is just one of many that occurred due to the separation between the two companies. Without going into specifics, some sources noted that there were "top secret" goings-on at both companies that the other was not aware of. The separation also kept Microsoft from knowing what features Nokia deemed most important for the Windows Phone platform, such as Bluetooth file sharing, a popular option in many companies where Nokia has a foothold.

Buying Nokia's wireless operations may allow Microsoft to address many of those issues, though it will likely take time to fully integrate Nokia into Microsoft's structure. Microsoft aims to triple its Windows Phone market share by 2018, and buying the most successful Windows Phone operations could aid the firm in that goal. Notably, Belfiore seemed dismissive of the implications of Microsoft effectively entering into competition with manufacturing partners like Samsung, HTC, and Huawei.

"Some of our partners have come, and some of them have gone over the years," Belfiore said. "It's not likely to change the big picture."

By Electronista Staff
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