This is so good, it’s almost hard to believe: Microsoft and Nokia have just formally announced their “Broad Strategic Partnership” as they “combine assets and develop innovative mobile products on an unprecedented scale.” The joint press conference occurred at 2:00 a.m. PST/5:00 a.m. EST, and unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) I was still awake trying to catch up on things when the news came out.
From a post titled “Open Letter from CEO Stephen Elop, Nokia and CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft” on the Official Microsoft Blog, here is a summary of what the two companies hope to achieve. (Note that the emphasis was added by me):
• 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.
I’ve been trying Windows Phone 7 on an HTC HD7 and on an LG Quantum, and I have been very much enjoying Microsoft’s new operating system. It has a sleekness and polish which reminds me of iOS, but goes beyond that. The biggest hurdles that have kept me from moving to the WP7 full time have been that there are still some key software titles which haven’t yet been ported over, and none of the hardware I’ve tried has truly made me want to replace my iPhone 4. Call me shallow, but hardware matters to me, and so does using the apps I have enjoyed on other platforms.
You know who makes some of the best cameras available in mobile devices? Nokia. You know who makes some of the most solid phones one can buy? Nokia. You know who makes phones with bulletproof radios? Nokia.
It will be interesting to see what kind of software titles are available at this time next year, once Microsoft and Nokia have had some time to (hopefully) combine their efforts to entice developers to create and port apps to their Nokia Windows Phones.
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.
I don’t know bout you, but I am pretty darn excited to see what this baby is going to look like.