Microsoft and Nokia have signed a definitive agreement to partner on Windows Phone 7.
Nokia have signed a definitive agreement to partner on Windows Phone 7,
formally beginning a relationship that could radically change the mobility
landscape in years to come.
terms of that agreement, Nokia will manufacture devices loaded with Microsoft's
Windows Phone 7, a mobile operating system that eschews the iPhone's or
Android's grid-like screens of individual applications in favor of
subject-specific "Hubs." Both Microsoft and Nokia have lost substantial ground
to their mobile competitors in recent years, and their partnership is widely
viewed as a way for both to reestablish momentum.
will pay its partner royalties for copies of Windows Phone 7 loaded onto its
hardware, it will ultimately receive billions of dollars from Microsoft.
definitive agreement now signed, both companies will begin engaging with
operators, developers and other partners to help the industry understand the
benefits of joining the new ecosystem," read a joint statement issued April 21.
"At the same time, work will continue on developing Nokia products on the
Windows Phone platform, with the aim of securing volume device shipments in
offer Microsoft its "expertise in operator billing" and hardware development,
along with advancements in mapping, navigation, imaging and some location-based
services. It will also open a branded application store that "leverages the
Windows Marketplace infrastructure," according to the statement, "and will
allow developers to "publish and distribute applications through a single
developer portal to ... consumers that use Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40
devices." In exchange, Microsoft will bring Bing search services to the Nokia
device portfolio, in addition to its own expertise in other areas, such as
gaming and advertising.
throwing its weight behind Windows Phone 7, Nokia remains publicly committed to
support its Symbian OS through at least 2014. The company's roadmap features
new Symbian phones hitting the market in 2011 and 2012.
a lot of ongoing development with Symbian, the two will co-exist," Nokia's
Australian managing director, Chris Carr, is quoted as telling Australia IT. "We've
invested a lot of money in Symbian."
recent data from analytics firm comScore, Microsoft's share of the smartphone
market dipped to 7.7 percent for the three months ending in February-down from
9 percent in November 2010, and a sufficient drop to place the platform behind
Google Android, Apple's iOS and Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise. Part
of that decline can also be attributed to users abandoning Microsoft's
antiquated Windows Mobile platform, either for Windows Phone 7 or rival
MIX11 conference in Las Vegas earlier in April, Microsoft touted Windows Phone
7 as being ideal for third-party developers. Future additions to the platform
include the introduction of Angry Birds in May, Skype and a Spotify music
application sometime in the autumn, and a massive software update, code-named
"Mango," which will introduce augmented reality capability, Internet Explorer 9
and a version of multitasking. Mango's actual release date remains unclear,
Phone carries some risks for Nokia, something the manufacturer acknowledged
recently in its publicly released Form 20-F 2010 report.
"If we fail to
finalize our partnership with Microsoft, or the benefits of that partnership do
not materialize as expected, we will have limited our options and more
competitive alternatives may not be available to us in a timely manner, if at
all," reads one section of that report. "Our expected transition to the Windows
Phone platform may prove to be too long to compete in the smartphone market
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.