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Nokia Partners With Microsoft, Embraces Windows Phone 7

A couple of days ago, an unusually honest internal memo from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop revealed that the company is at a crossroads, and that a new smartphone strategy is necessary.

Today, Nokia and Microsoft have officially entered a strategic alliance that makes Windows Phone 7 Nokia’s primary smartphone platform, but also extends into many other Microsoft services such as Bing, Xbox Live and Office.

Furthermore, the two companies will combine many complementary services; for example, Nokia’s application and content store will be integrated into Microsoft Marketplace, while Nokia Maps will be – as Nokia’s press release puts it – at the heart of Bing and AdCenter.

Nokia will also undergo significant changes in operational structure and leadership. As of April 1, Nokia will have two main business units: Smart Devices, led by Jo Harlow, and Mobile Phones, led by Mary McDowell.

Of course, with such significant changes in Nokia’s strategy, one has to wonder what will happen to its other smartphone platforms. Symbian, says Nokia, will become a “franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value,” and MeeGo will be an “open-source, mobile operating system project.”

While Nokia claims it expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices in the future, it’s obvious that from now on few people will buy Symbian devices because they run Symbian software. It will more likely power Nokia’s mid-range smartphones and feature phones with Nokia’s flagship phones running Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft and Nokia’s leaders are, of course, enthusiastic about the partnership. “We will create opportunities beyond anything that currently exists,” said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

What do you think? Was the partnership with Microsoft the right move for Nokia, and vice versa? Please, give us your opinions in the comments.

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