Nokia and Microsoft announces partnership – ditches Symbian for Windows Phone 7

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Nokia and Microsoft have announced that it will be partnering up with each other, seeing Nokia finally ditching its Symbian platform as its primary OS for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 – a huge move for both companies as both try to compete with Google and Apple.

The news will also see Nokia assist Microsoft to drive the growth of Windows Phone 7, bringing to the partnership “its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.”

Nokia is known for having a lot of good hardware on its phones, and with Windows Phone 7, it could be a huge boost for the mobile OS, which recently was launched in November.

Also in this partnership will see Bing powering search across Nokia devices and services, along with the company running the advertising services for those devices; Nokia Maps to be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services; and Nokia’s app store will be integrated with the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

The deal was long expected as Stephen Elop, the President and CEO of Nokia, was a former Microsoft executive.

Symbian is expected to still be used as an OS for its non-smartphones and phones targeted in developing markets. While it is a good OS for those phones, in the smartphone world, it was known for being clunky or too unfriendly for consumer usage. The change in OS will allow Nokia to predominantly focus on the hardware section of its mobile phones, while also giving Microsoft a big name to promote Windows Phone 7.

The letter from both Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop is below:

Today in London, our two companies announced plans for a broad strategic partnership that combines the respective strengths of our companies and builds a new global mobile ecosystem. The partnership increases our scale, which will result in significant benefits for consumers, developers, mobile operators and businesses around the world. We both are incredibly excited about the journey we are on together.While the specific details of the deal are being worked out, here’s a quick summary of what we are working towards:

• Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.

• Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.

• Nokia and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.

• Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.

• Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience.

• Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.

• Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.

• Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services so customers can do more with their phone, across their work and personal lives.

• Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

We each bring incredible assets to the table. Nokia’s history of innovation in the hardware space, global hardware scale, strong history of intellectual property creation and navigation assets are second to none. Microsoft is a leader in software and services; the company’s incredible expertise in platform creation forms the opportunity for its billions of customers and millions of partners to get more out of their devices.

Together, we have some of the world’s most admired brands, including Windows, Office, Bing, Xbox Live, NAVTEQ and Nokia. We also have a shared understanding of what it takes to build and sustain a mobile ecosystem, which includes the entire experience from the device to the software to the applications, services and the marketplace.

Today, the battle is moving from one of mobile devices to one of mobile ecosystems, and our strengths here are complementary. Ecosystems thrive when they reach scale, when they are fueled by energy and innovation and when they provide benefits and value to each person or company who participates. This is what we are creating; this is our vision; this is the work we are driving from this day forward.

There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.

There will be challenges. We will overcome them.

Success requires speed. We will be swift.

Together, we see the opportunity, and we have the will, the resources and the drive to succeed.