Nokia partners with Microsoft… makes Windows Phone “its primary smartphone strategy”

Ian Hardy

February 11, 2011 7:17am


Nokia and Microsoft have entered into a “broad strategic partnership” that makes the new Windows Phone OS its “primary smartphone strategy”. Former Microsoft Exec and current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated in a video that “together we will bring consumers a new mobile experience, stellar hardware, innovative software and great services. We will create opportunities beyond anything that currently exists”. Following him Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said a few words: “in this partnership with Nokia, Microsoft brings its’ Windows Phone software and the brand mobile consumers want like Bing, Office and of course Xbox Live”.

So there you have it. They have joined up and this could be what Nokia needed but certainly what Microsoft needed. This will skyrocket their stats in the number of devices that shipped/sold with WP7 globally as Nokia is the number one mobile manufacturer in the world.

In an open letter by the two companies gives more details of the partnership and says that “There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them. There will be challenges. We will overcome them. Success requires speed. We will be swift. Together, we see the opportunity, and we have the will, the resources and the drive to succeed.”

• Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services
• Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
• Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services.
• Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
• Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones
• Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services so customers can do more with their phone, across their work and personal lives.
• Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace

Source: Nokia Conversations

  • Martin

    This could yield some positive results for both companies. Let’s see how they work together.

    I like this announcement because it will create even more competition thus (hopefully) better products from all the players.

  • jB

    Being a fan of Nokia for many, many years, I can only say this: =*(

    I was in denial of all the rumours and defended Nokia’s loyalty to Symbian/MeeGo to the death. Now I’m eating my words. The N8 may be my last Nokia phone and after over 14 years of loyalty, I’ll probably end up going down the Android path.

    Sad day.

    • skinnypig

      I’m confused, are you a Nokia fan, or a Symbian/MeeGo fan? Why does Nokia putting WP7 on their phones force you to go the Android path, which is neither Nokia, Symbian, nor MeeGo?

    • TheCyberKnight

      Symbian and MeeGo are both going nowhere and are no match to modern phone operating systems.
      You clearly are just non-Microsoft.

    • Tom

      jB’s dissapointment makes sense to me.

      I too was a big fan of Nokia, but this changes many things.

      Nokia had a software strategy that was based on Qt for Symbian and Meego. They could have executed a big change in direction and strategy without abandoning all of this.

      I feel that, in abandoning their application platform entirely they have abandoned their customers, developers, employees, and brand.

      I liked Nokia, but their was no integrity or continuity in today’s announcement. Microsoft offered them great terms and they went for it. Now they will engage in the biggest layoffs in Finnish history and their 3rd party community will move to Android or iOS.

      So, like jB said, =*(

    • jB

      @CyberKnight – hahaha. No. I LOVE Microsoft and to even take it a step further, I refuse to buy Apple or Sony because I’m an MS fan. I only use Windows PCs and have only ALWAYS since I knew how to go on a computer. I have only ever owned Xboxes and refuse to buy competition.

      However, as much as I love my 2 favourite companies, there is no way in hell they should’ve joined together.

      Don’t A$$ume things.

      And clearly, you only have the North American mentality of Nokia. I’m not sure how you can possibly think MeeGo isn’t going anywhere when I would be willing to bet you have never used MeeGo at all and therefore cannot properly comment on if it is or isn’t going anywhere.

    • Stuntman

      Refusing to buy Nokia phones again due to this announcement seems like an emotional and irrational response. Clearly Elop feels that staying the course with Symbian/MeeGo will hurt the company and if Nokia dies as a result, customers will be screwed as well. He has taken a course of action to ensure Nokia succeeds in the long term.

      If anything would disappoint Nokia fans, it should be th N97 more so than this announcement. The N8 is a great piece of hardware, but is undermined by a poor UI and software. Even though it is an improvement over the N97, it is still no where near Android for the user experience it provides.

      I will admit I have never tried MeeGo. I went down to the store the other day to try a MeeGo device out and do you no what? They are not available yet. No matter what you say about how good MeeGo is, it is still vapourware at this time and will still be for some time.

      What will make me want to buy a Nokia phone again is if they come out with a device that does what I need and provide a good user experience using it. It does not matter what OS it runs or with whom they partner. I think after everyone cools down from this emotional day, people will buy the best device that suits their needs. Nokia makes devices that has some very good qualities, but with some glaring short comings. If this partnership with MS can help Nokia make high quality devices in every aspect again, people will support Nokia as many have done so in the past.

      The transition is said to take up to two years. Nokia is strong enough to get through this transition period. We won’t see the full results until then.

    • jB

      Elop is the 7th largest non-institutional holder of MS stock. Don’t get disillusioned that this deal was to better Nokia.

      And to add insult to injury, less than 4 months ago they introduced Symbian 3 and they barely started shipping out the E7! What a slap to the face to those who just bought new phones.

      Still waiting on the firmware update for my N8. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

  • TheCyberKnight

    The WP7 platform just got major additional support and we may see very interesting phones coming out soon.
    Ultimately, this can be good for everybody.

    • Keith

      I agree; we could see lots of great things coming out of this collaboration in the coming years. It definitely throws a twist into cellular industry and it will be interesting watching how it all shakes out.

  • jmmm

    Nokia will sink

  • David Evans

    @jmmm
    Nokia is already sinking. Elop is just hoping to use Microsoft to plug the hole.

    The best chance for success in this team-up is better integration of the Windows (and other MS products) environment(s) with the cell phone. There is no chance of catching up with aps in the near, or mid-range, future.

  • Jason

    Software has been Nokia’s weak point, so this will hopefully fix that.

  • Max

    We all know it would come from day one when Mr. Elop sits on the CEO chair at Nokia. Both companies are at the bottom of the smartphone and search engine market at the moment. This partnership may bring them some hope to re-gain some market shares. Obviously Google and Apple are their #1 competitor and NO WAY Nokia would adopt Android.
    I hope Nokia will bring their very first WP7 phone in the market before summer. Lesson learned: Slow product development does kill the company!

  • matahtak

    To all the nay-sayers who are jumping on tech blogger’s bandwagon instead of forming their own opinion let me tell you that Nokia is definitely not sinking. They were lacking in the smartphone department and obviously had a lot of snags with their software. This will be huge because Nokia can make cheap handsets that last longer than your one drop and it’s dead iPhone and WP7 could actually make a Nokia smartphone useful. Just wait til you see a WP7 unlocked Nokia smartphone with all world bands for less than 300, you’ll buy it.

  • Jim

    This is a win, win. WP7 made a good first attempt, but needs to speed up on fixing the things they missed on the first release. Nokia, has great hardware and moves quicker than MS. If these two companies can make this work, everyone will benefit from the competition it will bring.

  • david dee

    I am on the fence with this one. Definitely good news for Microsoft, great distribution channel. Nokia, on the other hand, not quite sure why they chose Microsoft. Maybe there will be synergies and this will take off, but right now I can’t see a consumer choosing this combo over BBM, an iPhone or Android. Android would have been the best choice, a free o/s that is growing exponentially in popularity, has a competitive app offering and has done wonders for other manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, etc.). But sometimes the obvious isn’t always the best option. Time will tell…

    • astudent

      A problem with Android that a lot of people admitted was the severe fragmentation of the market. I think Nokia wanted more assurance on the updates and it would be easier if Microsoft just handled most of the work. I can see that being their biggest problem. Another area where Nokia and Microsoft would make SO MUCH sense is the business sector. Nokia has a good grasp on the European business market, imagine what they can do with Microsoft Office, Wp7, cloud and with well made phones (I still love their ability to make amazing hardware).

      I like android a lot (i have a wp7 though) and I think either way, Nokia would have benefited regardless, than relying on Symbian and MeeGo as their flagship.

  • Canadianman20

    Who couldnt see that a guy who worked at microsoft, would head on over to Nokia, and then turn around and partner with microsoft. That was the plan all along. So can we finally say goodbye to a few phone OS’s like Symbian.

    • roach779

      Offline map is available on all smartphone. I used one when I went to Europe last year with Win 6.5 and I also recently got one for Win 7.

    • roach779

      oops sorry, response was for another thread

  • Somebody

    The one thing I love about Nokia is their offline maps. As an avid outdoor adventurer, GPS locks and knowing where I am out in the field is a dream. I can’t stand how WP7 and even Android require an Internet connection for that. If Nokia ports Ovi Maps, that will be a huge plus for WP7.

    • roach779

      Free offline map is available on all smartphone. I used one when I went to Europe last year with Win 6.5 and I also recently got one for Win 7. You do need to download areas you will be visiting, but who wants the map of the whole world taking up drive space…you want a map of Kansas City taking up limited phone space?

  • j

    personally, I am not that happy about it. That being said, I do think the two companies will complement each other very well in their current positions. Nokia has amazing apps to offer to this great OS (although I use android… we could have used those too :p) as well as true quality phones for powerusers.

  • Azteca

    Damn, I was so hoping for a Nokia Android…

  • jellmoo

    I can’t this as being anything other than win/win. Microsoft needed a legitimate manufacturer to give them substancial backing. Other companies had put out some handsets, sure, but none seemed to be dedicated to using WP7 for the future. Nokia, even with its market decline, is still the biggest handset manufacturer in the world.

    Nokia needed an out. Symbian was clearly not cutting it as a major player in the Smartphone world. Meego has taken way too long to materialize, and is if anything even more unproven than WP7. If Nokia had gone with Android, they would have simply been lost in a sea of other manufacturers.

    Nokia has the opportunity to be the premiere player in a growing OS. By making it a strategic partnership rather than just jumping on board, both Microsoft and Nokia should be able to take their game to a new level.

    • astudent

      I am excited to see what they will produce together! Amazing Hardware + Solid OS = Awesome :D

  • Jack

    Stock market disagrees with all up-ranked comments here. Nokia is down by almost 14% and close to being worth less than RIM.

    • astudent

      Well it makes perfect sense why they are down. Essentially, Nokia admitted that they need to adapt and a drastic change was needed. Symbian and MeeGo are not going to go anywhere big so they lost a lot of money developing for platforms that are not going to be their flagship. Their stock should go down.

    • Max

      Down 14% is not that bad… The market just responded to the news and adjusted it accordingly. It was “surprised” that Nokia is going down to this path: using 3rd OS after many years of being the leader of Symbian/smartphone industry. I am pretty sure that it is hard for Nokia’s share holders to swallow. But well, it is way batter for closing its door for good.

    • jellmoo

      @Jack

      Their stocks are done because they have essentially just called 2011 and 2012 “transition years”.

      The stocks are taking a dive because this deal is still young and they won’t be making any bulk releases until next year. It’s going to be a very lean year for them, as they are looking to make an impact farther down the road rather than today.

  • roach779

    All I see in this deal is saturating the market with win phone 7. There are people who buys phone because they want a phone. This is the area nokia is good at. Then there are people who learned about smart phone and may consider making it their next phone. This is where nokia is not good at and Win phone just does not have numbers. Google has numbers and Apple has mind share in this area. Nokia will provide hardware number and they both have to work on mind share numbers. And of course there are the fanboys.

  • faizo

    Congratulations Nokia and WP7.

    Every consumer should be a happy camper here, the more competition and development we have, the more options we will get. Nokia is simply unmatched in terms of hardware quality IMO and WP7 needs a strong selling point. Keep in mind, its still an infant, but soon it will become *hopefully* one of the market leaders.

    This is a good change and one that has the potential to scale and work very well together. Being Elop, he’s not a stranger to MSFT, so things should be smoother.

  • TrickyD

    Holy smokes! This should be very interesting, first Palm+ HP now this! What a week.

  • Dan

    This is awesome, nokia makes some great phones like the N8 (which I love because it has all the major bands included on it) but the only thing holding it back was the dead end Operating System.

    I already wanted a WP7 device since I saw and read about it, I can’t wait to see some of their upcoming devices.

    I wish them both the best.

  • RIPNokia

    Sad day.

    Nokia was an innovation powerhouse for so many years, and even after almost 5 years of iphones, they couldn’t develop their own touch optimized mobile phone OS. They would have won people over easily. Think about it. They own roughly ~35% of the mobile market. Just by virtue of numbers their new MeeGo OS would have been in a majority of hands.

    Just goes to show you, Nokia was always an excellent hardware company with mediocre software engineers.

    My freggin Nokia 6620 multitasks better than the iphone 4.

    RIP Nokia, you’re the only phone I ever owned. Now I leave you forever.

  • Thed

    This looked good about fifteen years ago. The potential is great but the problem is that both companies have become followers of what’s going on nowadays and it’s like they’ve been following in the dark with their eyes closed.

  • phuzzykiller

    I’ll be interested to see where this goes. The one (glaring) thing that has always kept me from looking at Nokia devices was that god-awful Symbian UI. I’ve tried it before and just couldn’t stand it. Maybe this pairing will actually start producing phones by Nokia that I’m willing to look at…..

  • danny

    The key to all of this is IF key word being IF the 2 companies can make this work.
    Lets face it, microsoft has not gotten the best reviews in the past.
    But hopefully they can get it right with windows 7, and lets face it. Nokia is an incredibly well made device.
    We know Nokia knows how to do things right when it comes to hardware, lets hope microsoft will not have the issues that apple has with not allowing different things to work (flash,issues with some email clients,…… etc)
    Right now MS is on the first build of the new mobile OS, lets hope they listen to the clients and work out the bugs and add the things that people want.

  • Len

    Just move along people, nothing to see here. Two failing companies coming together will not suddenly become great.

    Nokia should have went Android but decided to hang itself with MS.