Nokia and Microsoft on Friday announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem. Under the agreement, Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as the primary operating system for mobile phones, a move that causes a lot of questions as Microsoft's share on the market of mobile OSs has been declining for years now.
"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, the president and chief executive officer of Nokia.
The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem targets to deliver differentiated and innovative products and have unrivalled scale, product breadth, geographical reach, and brand identity. With Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Nokia would help drive the future of the platform by leveraging its expertise on hardware optimization, software customization, language support and scale. Nokia and Microsoft would also combine services assets to drive innovation. Nokia Maps, for example, would be at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter, and Nokia's application and content store would be integrated into Microsoft Marketplace. Under the proposed partnership, Microsoft would provide developer tools, making it easier for application developers to leverage Nokia's global scale.
Under the proposed partnership:
- 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.
- 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.
With Nokia's planned move to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Symbian becomes a franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value. This strategy recognizes the opportunity to retain and transition the installed base of 200 million Symbian owners. Nokia expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices in the years to come.
Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.
In feature phones, Nokia unveiled a renewed strategy to leverage its innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people to their first Internet and application experience.
As of April 1, Nokia will have a new company structure, which features two distinct business units: Smart Devices and Mobile Phones. They will focus on Nokia's key business areas: high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones. Each unit will have profit-and-loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing.