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By 11 February 2011 | Categories: news

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In an announcement released today before its important Strategy and Financial Briefing in London, Nokia confirmed rumours that have been going round since its CEO’s “burning platform” memo – Nokia will be running the Windows Phone operating system.

With Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer present, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stated that the Finnish cellphone giant will be adopting Windows Phone as the primary operating system for Nokia phones. This means Symbian OS, much loved by Nokia, as well as MeeGo (co-developed with Intel), will be playing second fiddle to Windows Phone.

“Today Nokia and Microsoft intend to enter into a strategic alliance. Together we will bring consumers a new mobile experience with stellar hardware, innovative software and great services. We will create opportunities beyond anything that currently exists,” says Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. Elop should know a thing or two about the Microsoft culture, seeing that before starting at Nokia in 2010, he was head of the Business Division at Redmond.

The choice is made

Window Phone 7 is barely known in SA and isn’t exactly the top choice for current smartphone users. According to a report by research company Nielsen last year, about 15% of the US smartphone market belongs to Microsoft Window Mobile devices, while Gartner pegs worldwide sales of Windows-based devices to end users in 2010 at only 4.2% of the total market.

So why go with Microsoft instead of Google’s Android, which has lifted more than a couple of phone manufacturers out of smartphone obscurity?

It does seem that both Nokia and Microsoft are looking at benefiting from the deal, with the companies talking about a “Third Ecosystem” created by this collaboration.

Apart from an expectant rise in sales of Nokia phones, the Finnish company’s Maps navigational platform, will be integrated into both Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform.

Microsoft is also set to benefit from the deal, since Nokia, with their trusted set of hardware, will help “drive and define” the future of Windows Phone. Redmond’s much flaunted search engine, Bing, looks set to appear across Nokia devices and services, while adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services – a potential big money spinner for the company.

With both Nokia’s OVI Store and Microsoft Marketplace trailing way behind the likes of Apple’s and Android’s offerings, Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace, offering users a more compelling, if not still  lacking, choice.

Will it work?

We remember a certain Nokia executive vice president stating smartphone makers that adopt Google’s mobile operating system software is like Finnish boys who “pee in their pants” in order to keep warm during the cold of winter. Basically implying that doing so might bring temporary relief, but more problems in the long term. Is Nokia siding with Windows not something similar, and how much of a temporary relief will Nokia receive?

One thing is sure, something had to be done, since Symbian^3 didn’t quite set the world alight, and with only one device scheduled for appearance on Meego, Nokia couldn’t stand out in the cold much longer.

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