Windows Phone developers to get copy-and-paste tools and more Microsoft news from the week

Here's a round-up of Microsoft news from the week, ranging from a coming Windows Phone SDK update, to a rumored Nokia-Microsoft alliance ... and more.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's that time: Time for the end-of-the-week Microsoft news roundup.

Developers are set to get an updated Windows Phone 7 software development kit (SDK) that will allow them to prep their applications for the first WP7 update (codenamed NoDo). The NoDo update will add copy-and-paste; performance tweaks; improved marketplace search and other minor updates to the Windows Phone OS 7. NoDo -- originally known as the "January update" by Microsoft -- is now expected in early February. Microsoft officials said in a podcast that developers would get the SDK refresh on February 4. As of nearly 4 pm ET, still no SDK. (A spokesperson said this afternoon that it was "coming soon.")

Update: 6:40 pm ET: The announcement about the availability of the updated WP7 tools (known as the "January Update") is out. Microsoft is warning it may take a while for the bits to make it onto the servers.

Will Nokia become a Windows Phone 7 OEM? There's been a lot of back-and-forth among Wall Street analysts and other mobile watchers this week as to whether Nokia and Microsoft will announce a licensing deal in the coming week or two. Some believe Nokia is going to become a Windows Phone 7 OEM. Others believe Nokia will, instead, become an Android OEM. (Most seem to believe Nokia will not completely drop its Symbian OS platform, regardless of its path.) I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't see Nokia going the WP7 route, as they'd be required to adhere to a locked-down Microsoft chassis design -- relegating the mobile phone leader to "mere" handset provider. Maybe Microsoft -- hoping to boost its market share in a fell swoop (a la Yahoo in the search space) will bend the rules and give Nokia more leeway? If not, color me skeptical of Nokia going the WP7 route.

Windows Azure broadens beta of "Extra Small Instances" from private to public: Microsoft this week broadened the beta program for its entry-level developer-focused offer for Windows Azure, known as "Extra Small Instances." Any and all interested customers can now use the beta version to prototype new applications on Microsoft's cloud platform. (Note: This beta, like all Microsoft cloud betas, is paid, not free, and is .05 cents per hour.)

Microsoft adds new aliasing capability to Hotmail. Starting as of February 3, Hotmail users can add up to five aliases per year to their Hotmail account, up to fifteen aliases in total. The goal: To allow users to organize different types of mail inside a single Hotmail account without having to share their primary Hotmail address if they don't want to.

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