An internal memo at Nokia recently described the company as a “burning oil platform” and Microsoft has failed miserably with Zune and Windows Phone so the two companies got together and decided that the best choice would be to link the companies and just like that Microsoft will have it’s oft maligned new operating system on phones with the largest handset maker in the world.
We have to assume they have been in talks for awhile but the timing is certainly strange when you consider how badly both companies need each other at the moment. Nokia was about to become irrelevant with more affordable smartphones hitting the market and their Mobile OS Symbian being rather far behind other choices such as Apple or the hot and popular Android. Microsoft has spent years and millions to redesign it’s mobile operating system while steadily losing all the ground they gained as the most popular choice early on in the industry.
Now they are having a hard time to get phone manufacturers on board with their new software for various reasons but Android being basically free must certainly weigh heavily in the choice on what software to install especially with an open format like Android that allows phone makers to freely modify the operating system unlike the proprietary software from Microsoft. Open source is gaining ground on copyright code and I could not be more excited about that.
Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer said the partnership would give the team “more innovation, greater global reach and scale.”
“We need to, and we will, collaborate closely on development … so we can really align and drive the future revolution of the mobile phone,” he said.
The key challenge will be to come up with devices of a quality level and hip factor that helps position Windows Phone as an attractive alternative to iPhone or Android.
Windows Phone 7, which was launched last year, still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of both the number of users and the number of “apps” available for the phones.
Nokia said its expertise in developing new software with Microsoft will be “on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.” Its map services will be a core part of the new device as will Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Nokia said.
Neil Mawston of London-based Strategy Analytics said Microsoft was the big winner in the partnership, by teaming up with the biggest mobile hardware vendor in the world.
“In terms of expanding their distribution reach, this is a huge win for Microsoft,” he said.