Nokia-Microsoft deal 'good' for developers and operators

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".

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"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

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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  • Nope - Elops is wrong. It's bad for Nokia, worse for Nokia developers. Nokia will lose out to Samsung in the emerging markets, and they still won't make much of an impact in the US which is already a mature smartphone market. Neither Microsoft nor Nokia are cool any more, and Apple and Google have shown it's not just technology and features, it's also a fashion business and this won't get them back in fashion.
  • Meegone! you are right. Nokia was for serious users who like details and know what a mobile OS should be like. It was never for fashion users. As a mobile OS, it is still better than iOS and Andriod, but its UI needed some improvement which Nokia was slow to bring because of unclear strategy and focus. That was the only problem. They were in the right direction with Symbian 3 and needed to shorten their development time to bring quick updates for UI and browser. They already lost (with this partnership) the customer mindshare in the rest of the world and they will find it difficult to capture the NA customer mindshare because of Android and iOS stronghold in NA. Nokia has also drilled serveral holes (abandoning Symbian 3, MeeGo and Qt) in thier own ship that is now on journey for 1/2 years towards Nokia/WinPhone! If somehow that ship reached to that point we will come here again and praise Elop, but for now it is thumps down for Nokia/Elop strategy. Lets see how their stocks go. May be MS will help their stocks to keep them up!
  • I think Nokia has the license to customize WP7 now, which is a good thing. Actually, they claim they'll be working in partnership with MS to that purpose. So, I'm already assuming that the WP7 OS we'll find on Nokia phones will be to some degree different (albait compatible, I really hope) from the one on other hardware producers.

    I also think it will be quite likely we'll see other features I can't really understand why are currently missing in WP7, such as thetering and Sync with Outlook.
    In other words, I think this degree of exclusivity may be enough to generate that uniqueness that is indeed needed to compete against the iPhone.
    Check this to see what other developers have to say: