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Nokia + Microsoft: Now Official but How Beneficial?

On February 11, 2011 Nokia and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership to strengthen their company brand values, consumer deliverables and allied partners. A prime motive of this tie-up is to offer a new and exciting mobile ecosystem, according to the blog post on Nokia Conversations.

The last thing Nokia fans wanted to hear and (may be) the good news for Microsoft fans. (You will know why I wrote this in a post below)

Yes, this is really a mixed kind of news which was very unexpected yet waited for an official announcement.

This step is most likely taken considering the fact that, market share for Nokia and Microsoft Windows Phone OS has decreased significantly since the unlocked iPhone 4 was made available. And especially after the launch of Google’s Android OS, which then seems to be more favored by major mobile handset manufacturers including Sony, Samsung, LG and HTC (HTC is a partner of Microsoft)

All this led to lesser fan following for Nokia’s first smartphone OS – Symbian. Nokia also in an attempt to rebuild their brand value, got themselves a new CEO and made a decision of closing down the Symbian Foundation permanently. I (and many others) was expecting a ground breaking mobile OS from Nokia to take on Android, but this new deal has definitely killed a hope.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS has not been up to the mark until they launched revolutionized touch UI for their newest version Windows Mobile 7. This new OS was well received initially, but users started complaining about it being slower and slower after a few weeks of usage. I do have a Windows Mobile at home and I am of a similar impression about WM 6.x. It’s really not worth it.

So this brings me to my own definite conclusion that Microsoft was looking for a better hardware after trying HTC for a few years while Nokia was looking for a mobile OS to take on Android and is after closing down the Symbian which became the prime reason of all to have this spiced up a new deal.

Quick Summary of this partnership

Below is an extract from Nokia’s blog post.

  • 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 give its expertise in 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 road-map 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 give search advertising services in Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping service. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and an 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 buy 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 phones, across their work and personal lives.
  • Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

So apart from all the big and complex terminologies, what should common user should really expect from the deal?

Benefits of the deal

For Nokia

  • They got a fully developed OS to their mobile hardware.
  • Nokia need not to spend money and time in developing all new OS.
  • They would go ahead with Windows Mobile for the next few years, test the market, test their hardware for the new OS.

For Microsoft:

  • They have a fully developed mobile OS, now they have a guaranteed buyer for their OS.
  • HTC could be having a diverted focus on Smartphones with Windows Mobile because they are also manufactured Android based devices which are getting sold more.
  • Analyzing the situation, Microsoft needed a well-known hardware manufacturer who can give undivided attention and market space for their Windows Mobile OS.
  • Nokia is in a position to offer this all

Pointers from my very little understanding

  • This deal could really be worth it if both Nokia and Microsoft understand the trend and need of users.
  • Simply copying a strategy, functionalities from other popular devices will not help in longer term.
  • They need to design something on their own while allowing more functionality to users. Keep it open as much as possible.
  • Microsoft needs to look into providing frequent OS updates
  • Nokia must develop a hardware than can be at par for touch devices. Current touch screens are really poor.
  • Nokia’s hardware and Microsoft OS have a tendency of getting slower and slower, which needs to be taken care of.
  • Nokia should come up with a stitched storage like an iPhone than using MicroSD cards. I do think that MicroSD cards are one of the reasons for slower OS access even though the OS is installed on an inbuilt hardware.
  • It is Nokia who should direct Microsoft for modifying the current version of Windows Mobile 7. Current reviews of this OS are complete thumbs down.

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As I try to finish this post before it becomes too long to read, I am still getting the mixed feelings about this deal.

Somewhere I do feel that, the first device from this deal would be really an exciting product to look for and the feeling is purely due to love towards Nokia. How could I forget that my first mobile handset was Nokia!

Lets see what this deal produces in coming future. Meanwhile, write your views about it through comments, I am looking forward to it.

Update

Nokia after this particular deal have managed to produce Android phones as we all expected & were bragging about in this article. They’ve successfully ditched the Google Web Services module from the Android to make way for Microsoft services through completely new UI layer. Read more about Nokia’s first Android phones