Nokia adopts Windows Phone 7 as 'primary platform'

Nokia adopts Windows Phone 7 as 'primary platform'

Summary: Nokia and Microsoft have announced a major partnership that will see the handset maker adopt Windows Phone 7 as its principal smartphone platform, while contributing heavily towards its further development.The Finnish handset maker, which brought its troubled Symbian platform back in-house only last year soon after new chief Stephen Elop took over, will spin it out again as a "franchise platform", it said in a statement.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Nokia and Microsoft have announced a major partnership that will see the handset maker adopt Windows Phone 7 as its principal smartphone platform, while contributing heavily towards its further development.

The Finnish handset maker, which brought its troubled Symbian platform back in-house only last year soon after new chief Stephen Elop took over, will spin it out again as a "franchise platform", it said in a statement. MeeGo, Nokia's joint Linux OS project with Intel, will become fully open source and the company will still release a "MeeGo-related product" this year.

Alberto Torres, the head of Nokia's MeeGo efforts, has stepped down, the company said. The moves were announced on Friday, following days of intense speculation that was largely fueled by a leaked Elop memo, warning that the company was standing on a "burning platform".

Nokia and Microsoft's chief executives Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer discuss the partnership. Photo credit: David Meyer

According to a statement, Nokia will "contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies". The manufacturer will adopt Bing for its smartphone search, and will contribute Nokia Maps to Microsoft's own cartographical efforts. Nokia's Ovi applications and content store will be integrated with the Windows Phone Marketplace.

"Today, the battle is moving from one of mobile devices to one of mobile ecosystems, and our strengths here are complementary," Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer and Elop said in a joint statement. "Ecosystems thrive when they reach scale, when they are fueled by energy and innovation and when they provide benefits and value to each person or company who participates. This is what we are creating; this is our vision; this is the work we are driving from this day forward."

The companies, which already have a longstanding partnership deal over office productivity software, said the deal would increase the scale of both, and each company will "focus on its core competencies".

Nokia said it expects to ship another 150 million Symbian phones. There are 200 million Symbian phones being used today, and the company said it "recognises the opportunity to retain and transition" those users.

"Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project," the statement read. "MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year."

The company did not say whether the MeeGo-related product would be a tablet or some other kind of device.

Nokia also announced a company reorganisation. A new Smart Devices business will concentrate on high-end Symbian and MeeGo, while a Mobile Phones unit will deal with the mass-market.

The company told its investors that it "expects 2011 and 2012 to be transition years, as the company invests to build the planned winning ecosystem with Microsoft".

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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13 comments
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  • Nokia R.I.P

    You just did a Motorola, and killed your business. You went from a burning platform to another burning platform.

    No doubt your ex-Microsoft CEO had something to do with this decision, I wonder where his priorities were...
    Simon Stroud
  • Windows Phone 7 is a great OS. Maybe if you'd tried it and weren't just regurgitating hearsay you'd know this.
    Shaun2k5
  • I think this is a great move. Win mobile 7, is actually a good platform. Having three big beasts will help to stabilise things, as app developers can now focus on 3 platforms (sorry webOS).

    Its a clever move especially as in developing countries Nokia is strong and this will give MS an important foothold. How long now until we see the Iphone mini, as only the relatively wealthy of the world can afford an iphone.

    In the end as a consumer of devices this is good as it will offer us more choice and lower prices. As typically on the hardware front nokia's have been traditionally stong re. camera's etc.

    David
    www.joots.co.uk
    davidjoots
  • I wonder where this leaves the European Union's 11 million euro investment in Symbian... http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/mobile-devices/2010/11/03/embedded-symbian-scheme-gets-11m-in-eu-funding-40090736/
    rupert.goodwins@...
  • Excellent! Windows Phone looks amazing and Nokia have a lot of experience making great smartphones. Symbian died a long time ago, I am not too keen on Android to be honest (I have the HTC Desire) too much piracy and potential malware (check out the permissions when you install an App and ask yourself, why would a barcode scanner need access to my bookmarks, internet history and contacts...?). iOS is a closed garden and I think the business model of Apple isn't about providing great hardware but great returns (iPad 1 doesn't ship with a video camera but iPad2 will less than a year later apparently).....

    All in all this is a great move.
    Stephen2012
  • Shame, I was hoping they'd go Android. Nokia could make a killer Android device. Guess I'll have to toss-up between HTC and Samsung after all.
    StevoCJ
  • How many years till Nokia Microsoft combined are behind Android HTC, Apple and Samsung. They're both following the well trodden path of DEC, Compaq, Lotus etc. Too big to fail might work with banks but it doesn't work in tech, especially mobile tech where Apple have demonstrated that style needs to take equal share with substance. They're both still in the mobile race now but in five years time they're also rans.

    Hmm.. time to read that Android developer book. Not as good as QT but a better investment.
    Meegone
  • This is great news. Symbian was already dead, while MeeGo repeatedly failed to deliver.
    zugu
  • There are only 30 countries allowed to develop on the Windows Phone 7 platform and market those applications on Microsoft's market place. So much for an open platform. I think Apple and Google will sustain their advantage if this doesn't change, and very quickly. I mean, China is not even on the list of countries that can develop and sell their, and not even one African country is on the list. Currently Microsoft's mobile platform strategy is closed, by country this time.
    lramafola
  • It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can leverage Ovi's presence in a lot more countries to extend where Marketplace is available...

    Mary
    Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe
  • Unlike HTC products the current closest rival to iPhone, many Nokia products already have identical connectivity and all their new products will definitely be the same, meaning the market for accessories and docking stations, similar to what Apple has achieved will be huge and provide for the first time a real alternative for total market share for the first time. Don't underestimate the importance of these two giants combining forces or the impact they will undoubtedly have... almost immediately. Apple wont!
    NoiPhonehere
  • @lramafola
    > There are only 30 countries allowed to develop on the Windows Phone 7 platform

    New platforms are rarely if ever rolled out globally to all countries at the same time.
    Jack Schofield
  • I don't care who Nokia goes with... i'm sick and tired of the over-promise and under deliver method for the past few years. It is time to move on. Having a $500 dollar piece of hardware with nothing to run it proficiently is just dumb. So I'm up for these changes and I hope it's going to be tomorrow and not next year.
    koshia