Nokia, Microsoft Announce Strategic Partnership

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

Microsoft and Nokia team up to take on an increasingly competitive mobile phone market.

Handset maker Nokia and technology giant Microsoft announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that will use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a global mobile ecosystem, saying they intend to jointly create mobile products and services. Each company will focus on its core competencies and said they plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.

"I am excited about this partnership with Nokia," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO. "Ecosystems thrive when fueled 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."

Under the proposed partnership, Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging. Nokia will also help drive the future of Windows Phone by contributing its expertise on hardware design, language support and helping bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

The two companies will closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development road map to align on the future evolution of mobile products: Bing will power Nokia's search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to the platform’s search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia's line of devices and services.

Under the partnership, Nokia Maps will be a "core part" of Microsoft's mapping services. For example, Maps will be integrated with the Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a new local search and advertising platform. In addition, the companies said Nokia's operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit card use is low.

Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to leverage the ecosystem's reach, while Nokia's content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for an enhanced consumer experience.

"Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great  experience," Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO, said at a joint news conference in London. "Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivaled global reach and scale. It's now a three-horse race."