Nokia and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership for creating a new mobile ecosystem presumably aimed at taking on Apple, Android, RIM, and HP, though Nokia CEO Stephen Elop says it's now a "three-horse race."
It feels like there are more than three horses, but here's what he said: "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. 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," added Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "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."
Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, lending hardware design, language support, and helping to bring the platform to a larger range of price points, market segments, and geographies. The two companies will collaborate on marketing strategies. Bing will power Nokia's search services. adCenter will provide search advertising across Nokia's line of devices and services.
Interestingly, Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft's mapping services, and be integrated with Bing. We'll explore the search implications in another article.
Microsoft and Nokia have a couple things in common. They are both technology giants, strangely late to the smartphone race. A recently leaked internal memo at Nokia had the company acknowledging that. Ballmer has acknowledged it in the past.
Calling it a three-horse race seems to be underestimating some of the competition. We can't be sure the other two he was referring to are Apple and Android, but it seems most likely. However, BlackBerry is right up there, and another new horse was well publicized this week in HP's new line of webOS products.