It’s official: Nokia nad Microsoft are to team up to bring Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices to stores as part of a “broad strategic partnership that will use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem”.
Nokia will now use the Windows Phone 7 OS as their platform of choice, with both companies working in tandem to bring out (in Nokia’s case) more timely handset releases and (in Microsoft’s case) to a wider audience.
“Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO. “Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was equally enthusiastic:
“I am excited about this partnership with Nokia. Ecosystems thrive when fuelled by speed, innovation and scale.The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute”.
For those worried about Nokia-specific apps, like Nokia Maps, being consumed by the Microsoft OS, have no fear. Nokia software will supplement the Windows 7 experience, being integrated into Windows Phone 7, joining services like Bing. MeeGo, the long awaited new platform partnership with Intel, will still see the light of day in at least one product “later this year”.
Is this enough to save Nokia from the “burning platform” Elop spoke of in his revealing memo. Microsoft and Nokia both have generously filled coffers and are such household names that perhaps they’ll bring in smartphone fence sitters. Whether or not the pair can jointly offer an experience as slick as Google’s Android or Apple’s mighty iPhone iOS remains to be seen.