Nokia and Microsoft have made it official: they will partner on a smartphone strategy that they say will disrupt the other "mobile ecosystems" in the market. The companies announced the partnership in an open letter posted on the Nokia web site late Thursday. The companies will make the announcement at an analyst's meeting today.
In a post on Thursday, I suggested that Nokia - the subject of the "burning platform" memo by CEO Stephen Elop earlier this week - would be better off partnering with Google and its Android platform than Microsoft, which is still running far behind the others in the mobile game and is also trying to play catch-up. Clearly, I misread that one.
So what does this partnership mean for both companies. In the letter, Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer rattled off a list of details about the deal. Among them:
- Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy and help bring it to a larger range of price points, markets and geographies.
- Bing will power the search on Nokia's devices and Microsoft adCenter platform will provide search ad services.
- Nokia's content and app store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace.
In the joint statement, the CEOs said:
We each bring incredible assets to the table. Nokia’s history of innovation in the hardware space, global hardware scale, strong history of intellectual property creation and navigation assets are second to none. Microsoft is a leader in software and services; the company’s incredible expertise in platform creation forms the opportunity for its billions of customers and millions of partners to get more out of their devices.
There's no doubt that both companies are powerhouses. And certainly, they'd like it to stay that way. But really, the only way either of them was going to make it in the mobile game - at least at this stage - was to find a strategic partner. And that's what they've done here.
Let's hope the two can break new ground and become true disruptors, as they've promised. There's never anything wrong with some market disruption.
Check out the quick video featuring Elop and Ballmer playing up the deal.