Nokia-Microsoft deal 'good' for developers and operators

Summary:Nokia and Microsoft's smartphone tie-in will benefit developers, publishers and mobile operators, the companies said as they explained the rationale behind the deal

...seen "strong engagement" from Windows Phone 7 developers so far, with 8,000 applications already in its marketplace.

Ballmer said Nokia's "global expertise and focus on all price points and market segments will benefit Windows Phone broadly and Nokia's Windows Phones specifically".

"We are very excited to work with Nokia's engineers, who have some of the most exciting image technologies anywhere in the world, to bring those technologies to Nokia Windows Phones," Ballmer said. "The Windows Phone ecosystem should ensure more innovation in the market, more choice for consumers and better opportunities for developers and service providers to showcase the enhancements they're making to their networks."

The precise terms of the deal between Nokia and Microsoft remain confidential. All Elop would say on the matter is that "the agreement does respect the fact that Windows Phone is a royalty-bearing product, but it also respects the unique value [Nokia brings] to the ecosystem".

Avoiding Android

Nokia decided not to adopt Android, which is royalty free, because the phone maker "would have difficulties differentiating within that ecosystem", Elop said. He argued that the "commoditisation risk was very high" if the company had taken that option.

"[With Android] the value is being moved out to Google, essentially, which was concerning to us," Elop explained, suggesting that Microsoft had provided the "best option to build and lead and fight".

IDC analyst John Delaney said he got the sense that Nokia "spoke to Google, but not for very long".

He also suggested that an unstated reason for avoiding the Google-backed open-source OS was "if they were to go with Android, there would be no glossing over that they're implicitly recognising the superiority of another software company".

"With Microsoft, they can spin it as the extention of an existing relationship," Delaney told ZDNet UK, referring to the companies' long-standing partnership on mobile office productivity software.

Reading between the lines, if they do anything with MeeGo, it won't be smartphones.

– John Delaney, IDC

MeeGo's future

Nokia will ship its first MeeGo device this year "as an opportunity to learn... about some of the wonderful work we've done around user experience", Elop said. After that, it will ask the MeeGo team to move its attention to "future platforms", he added.

"Reading between the lines, if they do anything with MeeGo, it won't be smartphones," Delaney said, warning that it would be premature to assume that the company was planning a MeeGo tablet.

"One of the things Nokia doesn't have any play for is the connected home," Delaney noted. "Microsoft does, in Windows Media Centre, but it's not a very strong play."

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Topics: Mobility, Smartphones


David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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