As a clearer picture of the Mango update for Windows Phone 7 emerges, ZDNet UK spoke to Matt Bencke, the general manager of the Microsoft developer and marketplace team behind the Nokia deal.
We asked him what Microsoft wants Nokia to bring to Windows Phone, where Ovi Maps fits in, what mobile means for web apps on the phone, and how that relates to Windows on ARM.
The first Windows Phone update is barely out of the door and Microsoft is already talking about the next — and much more significant — free upgrade. It first showed off some features at Mobile World Congress in February, shortly after announcing its tie-up with mobile giant Nokia.
At its MIX11 conference in April, Microsoft went into far more detail on this next version of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango, showing how it handles multitasking, improves performance and updates the interface.
Nokia's first Microsoft-powered phones will use the Mango Windows Phone release, due in autumn 2011, but shipping in volume in 2012. Nokia's relationship with Microsoft is about more than Windows Phone, as it will bring its Navteq maps and navigation tools to Bing, along with its international marketing expertise in the Ovi Store.
Q: How far is the deal with Nokia a way to extend some of the services for Windows Phone outside the US, where Bing has a lot of detail, and into international markets?
A: Nokia is a good accelerator and motivator for us to go global faster. Part of what we liked when we stared across the room at each other was we have inverse geographic footprints in some ways, in terms of where Microsoft is strong — not just Windows Phone but Xbox, Bing, Zune.
The fingers go like this [he mimes interlocking hands] when you look at Nokia with 70-percent smartphone share, plus or minus, in Russia, Egypt, Indonesia — and China and India in that 50-percent plus-or-minus range. [It's] crazy market share where we aren't robust.
So do the new countries you've announced for Mango build on Nokia strengths?
The Mango countries were picked before the Nokia deal, so not on purpose. It wasn't like a master plan. But the truth is, getting into a much broader footprint around Europe is a big deal. Nokia is obviously a top-five brand in Europe, but not a big deal in the US. But people walk into stores in Germany and the UK and say, 'I'd like a Nokia' all day long.
Nokia's market share would be a great thing for Windows Phone, but what about its technologies?
People haven't necessarily connected all the dots. Nokia cares a lot about MO [mobile operator] billing integration. It is a matter of public record that Nokia has MO billing with 112 carriers today. Which is, what, 110 more than Android? Android only has...