After many weeks of speculations, Nokia and Microsoft finally announced minutes ago that the 2 companies are entering a strategic partnership "to build a new global mobile ecosystem."

Nokia has been struggling to keep up with the exploding smartphone market in the past years, and it was clear that something needed to be done.

MeeGo, Nokia's latest bet at replacing its aging Symbian system with a new, open sourced, Linux-based OS, has been in development since 2010, but no phones running this OS have been released by the company yet.

In an effort to regain market share, Nokia had to pick - either join forces with Android, a giant growing at incredible speeds, or side with the newcomer - Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft, a company Nokia can trust (their current CEO, Stephen Elop, spent almost 3 years as a Microsoft VP of BizDev).

Judging by Google's Vic Gundotra's epic tweet, negotiations between Nokia and Google did not go so well. It's no surprise, considering Nokia's opinion of Android is far from positive (or civil for that matter).

Nokia + Microsoft

So, in the past days, we've already accepted the inevitable - Nokia phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Series Phone OS For Phones are coming, but now we've gotten the details to back it up:

  • Windows Phone 7 is going to become Nokia's principal smartphone strategy
  • Nokia is not going to give up on MeeGo and will be releasing MeeGo-based devices later this year
  • Search on Nokia devices will be powered by Bing, which, as Steve Balmer eloquently put in his speech, is a brand that mobile consumers want. Who are those mobile consumers, Steve? I don't know very many, but we understand - you have to defend your own products, even if they just copy Google.

Well, those are the interesting bits - you can read the rest in the press release below.

So, folks, get ready for some Windows-based Nokia phones. I am actually kind of glad that Nokia partnered with MS instead of Google for a variety of reasons, the most important one being competition. Had they joined forces with Google, Windows Phone 7 would have had much smaller chances of survival, and a little competition most of the time only benefits the consumer.

What say you, reader? Did Nokia make a fatal mistake? Or is the world better of with Microkia instead of Noogle?

Press Release

Nokia and Microsoft Announce Plans for a Broad Strategic Partnership to Build a New Global Mobile Ecosystem

Companies plan to combine assets and develop innovative mobile products on an unprecedented scale.

LONDON – Feb. 11, 2011 – Nokia and Microsoft today announced plans to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia and Microsoft intend to jointly create market-leading mobile products and services designed to offer consumers, operators and developers unrivalled choice and opportunity. As each company would focus on its core competencies, the partnership would create the opportunity for rapid time to market execution. Additionally, Nokia and Microsoft plan to work together to integrate key assets and create completely new service offerings, while extending established products and services to new markets.

Under the proposed partnership:

  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would 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 would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia's search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing's next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia's line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would 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 would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem's global reach.
  • Nokia's content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

"Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience," Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO, said at a joint news conference in London. "Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It's now a three-horse race."

"I am excited about this partnership with Nokia," said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.

"Ecosystems thrive when fueled by speed, innovation and scale.The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute."

Please visit www.nokia.com/press for press materials.

Source: Nokia via Engadget [1] [2]