Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 could be ported onto Nokia phones, according to a new report. That could help both Microsoft and Nokia in their market-share battle against Google Android and the iPhone.
Nokia plans on using Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 as
a smartphone platform, according
to an unnamed source talking to Venture Beat
. That would expand Microsoft's
mobile footprint in its competition against Google Android, Apple's iPhone and
RIM's BlackBerry franchise.
If that rumor proves true, it could be a sign that Nokia's
new CEO, former
Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop
, is leveraging his
relationship with his former company to accomplish strategic aims for his
new one. Although Nokia holds a strong international position, the company
never managed to gain a beachhead in the United States that would allow it to
challenge either Android or the iPhone, considered the two top franchises in
this country's consumer smartphone space.
Using Windows Phone 7 in addition to its existing smartphone
platforms, however, might give Nokia the sharper nails it needs to claw out
some additional market share among American consumers. A September research
note from IDC predicted that, although
Nokia's share will continue to dip through 2014
, Microsoft's could
increase from 6.8 percent to 9.8 percent.
Microsoft was markedly noncommittal about Elop's leaving
earlier in September.
"I am writing to let you know that Stephen Elop has been
offered and has accepted the job as CEO of Nokia and will be leaving
Microsoft," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a Sept. 9 e-mail to company
employees. "Stephen leaves in place a strong business and technical leadership
team, including Chris Capossela, Kurt DelBene, Amy Hood and Kirill Tatarinov,
all of whom will report to me for the interim."
Ballmer added: "I appreciate the way that Stephen has been a
good steward of the brand and business in his time here, and look forward to
continuing to work with him in his new role at Nokia."
Whether Elop left on positive terms with his former
colleagues, Nokia and Microsoft actually have a history of partnership in the
smartphone arena. In August 2009, the two companies announced that mobile
versions of Microsoft Office would be preloaded onto Nokia smartphones, to be
followed in time by other applications such as Microsoft SharePoint. At the
time, Nokia also announced that it had begun work on optimizing Microsoft
Exchange ActiveSync for its devices, allowing more streamlined direct access to
e-mail and personal information.
But Windows Phone 7 will also compete against Nokia's phones
running its proprietary operating systems. Microsoft and its manufacturing
partners will reportedly launch the first Windows Phone 7 devices in either
October or November, even as Nokia preps its own smartphones-including
the Nokia N8
-for release this fall.
For its part, Nokia intends Elop to spark a transformation
in the company's mobile fortunes.
"The time is right to accelerate the company's renewal; to
bring in new executive leadership with different skills and strengths in order
to drive the company's success," Jorma Ollila, chairperson of the Nokia Board
of Directors, wrote in a Sept. 10 statement. "The Nokia Board believes that
Stephen has the right industry experience and leadership skills to recognize
the full potential of Nokia."