Nokia to form partnership with Microsoft

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Nokia to undergo major organisational changes and form a partnership with Microsoft that sees Windows Phone OS adopted as main smartphone platform.

The shift to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS calls into question the long-term future of its Symbian and MeeGo platforms, despite Nokia claims that both will continue to exist to transition users.

At least one MeeGo device will be released in 2011, although it seems that MeeGo will be used more to help develop ideas for next-generation devices.

Under the partnership, Microsoft will help Nokia to bring products and services to market quicker, as well as merging services like Nokia Maps with Microsoft services like Bing and its advertising service.

Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop said: “Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward.

“Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investment in the future.”

Nokia also announced a new operational structure featuring two “distinct” business units which will come into effect on April 1.

The units will focus on Nokia’s key business areas: “high-end smartphones” and “mass-market mobile phones”.

Each division will have profit and loss responsibility and high end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing.

Mobile News will be reporting from Nokia’s press conference in London later this morning to bring you more information.

The press release details the proposals as follows:

  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone.  Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
  • Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities.  Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services.   For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience
  • Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

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