Nokia discusses its Windows Phone deal in a new document, including the inherent risks and the plan for Nokia-built Windows Phones to hit the market in two years.
Windows Phone 7 devices won't hit the market for another two years, and the
company's partnership with Microsoft carries some wide-ranging and systemic
from Nokia's publicly released Form
20-F 2010 report, a massive tome submitted to the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission and posted on Nokia's Website.
A good portion
of the report's 275 pages are devoted to the wide-ranging partnership deal Microsoft
and Nokia announced Feb. 11, which will make Windows Phone 7 the main software
platform for Nokia's smartphones. Bound together, the two companies will
attempt to challenge Apple's iPhone and the Google Android smartphones that
control wide swaths of the market.
terms of the agreement, according to the report, Nokia will apparently leverage
its expertise in hardware and design to "help bring Windows Phone to a broader
range of price points, market segments and geographies." In addition, the two
companies will collaborate on both development and joint marketing initiatives.
"We expect the
transition to Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform to take about
two years," the document continues. "While we transition to Windows Phone as
our primary smartphone platform, we will continue to leverage our investment in
Symbian for the benefit of Nokia, our customers and consumers, as well as
extrapolate forward from the partnership's February announcement, that "about
two years" time frame means that the first Nokia smartphones loaded with
Windows Phone 7 will hit the market sometime in 2013. Previous reports had the
first Nokia-Microsoft smartphones arriving sometime in 2012.
follows its yearly refresh cycle for the iPhone, then 2013 will see the release
of the iPhone 7. And Google Android will almost certainly have evolved to a point
far beyond its current state. Presumably, Windows Phone 7 will have also
advanced during that period. Such a broad time horizon makes it difficult to
conjecture about the ultimate look of a Nokia smartphone with Windows Phone 7,
although some leaked
early concepts suggest devices with iPhone- or Droid-style sleekness.
But the Nokia
deal has offered Microsoft one possible early benefit: according to data from
analytics firm Flurry, more developers began projects for Windows Phone 7 once
rumors of a possible partnership began to filter onto the Web.
with the early speculation and subsequent announcement that Nokia and Microsoft
would be partners, Flurry measured a 66 percent increase in Windows Phone 7
starts over last week," Peter Farago, Flurry's vice president of marketing,
wrote in a Feb. 11 posting on his company's
continues to encourage mobile developers to create applications for the
platform. It has already adjusted some of its developer policies, including a
raised limit in the number of zero-fee certifications that can be performed for
free applications, from five to 100. The company claims its Windows Phone 7
ecosystem has grown to 9,000 applications, with a base of 32,000 developers.
along with news that the first major Windows Phone 7 update, with cut-and-paste
and faster app-loading, will be delayed until the second half of March.
consultation with the team and our many partners, we've decided to briefly hold
the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and
that of our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a March 10 e-mail to
Microsoft released a Windows Phone 7 update intended to smooth the way for
future updates. Soon after that update began to push its way into the
ecosystem, however, some users began complaining it stalled their smartphones.
Microsoft temporarily suspended the update for Samsung smartphones, and
evidently is taking precautions this time around to make sure everything goes
the only ones concerned about Windows Phone 7's smooth running. For Nokia, the
partnership also carries some substantial risks.
"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 the 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.