Shotgun marriage of Nokia and Microsoft might be in the works

Shotgun marriage of Nokia and Microsoft might be in the works
Numerous sources, including reputable ones like the WSJ and Bloomberg, leaked that Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop might announce a software partnership with Microsoft as soon as tomorrow at the investors' conference presentation, if they have hammered out the details by then.

Nokia has also been looking into Android, as well as staying the course with Symbian and MeeGo, but these plans might be off the table now. Nokia has indicated often that it is looking for a slick, unobtrusive novel UI, which will make your phone just work, and Microsoft's WP7 has been given as an example.

Now we can't imagine what would that partnership be, rather than adopting Windows Phone 7 as a platform for Nokia devices. Symbian is nice and functional, but its UI is outdated, and Nokia keeps pouring millions to overhaul it. A lot has been written how this makes sense for both Microsoft and Nokia, which were caught by surprise with the ascent of Apple and Google in the mobile market. Even if they just take the UI concept from Microsoft, it will still be better than what we have now, and, given Nokia's hardware R&D and manufacturing capacity, it will be a win-win situation for both companies.

MeeGo is in a final phase of development, and there might even be a flagship Nokia N9-01 tested with it for 2011 release, as various leaks confirmed. Nothing major is being heard on the Symbian front, though, and WP7 might be a good alternative in the meantime for all other practical purposes. A lot of Microsoft's services are overlapping with the Ovi ecosystem, but two companies like Nokia and Microsoft can quickly overcome those differences and merge or complement the two successfully. Nokia is yet to put a 1GHz chipset in a phone, which was Microsoft's minimum for WP7, so if any partnership gets announced, it will bear fruit late this year, or even the next.

Or, for that matter, Microsoft could just outright buy Nokia at the current depressed share price, and have the hardware to back its software. That's not possible at all, though - Microsoft's cash and cash equivalents barely cover the market cap of Nokia, and it still has to pay a premium and get shareholder approval, so the software alliance seems the likely middle ground. Loyal Nokia fans might be slightly disappointed with such a move, though.

The other rumors point out that Stephen Elop is trying to move Nokia closer to the North American market, and will oust a few Finnish executives as early as today. The North American chief is also going, and Nokia might move some headquarters to the Silicon Valley, where the hottest action in mobile is currently. We are sure Apple and Google are a bit worried now, because cornered companies have proven they can come up with disruptive ideas when pressed.

Google's Vic Gundotra even lashed out a tweet with the stinging content "Two turkeys do not make an Eagle" and #feb11 hashtag, which is the date of Nokia's presentation tomorrow. We wouldn't be so condescending, Vic, if we were you. If Nokia and Microsoft join forces, the carriers will welcome a third major player much more willingly, as they have already expressed concerns how Apple and Google are twisting their arms. All we know is that we geeks will win in the end from the battle of the titans.

source: WSJ, AllThingsDigital

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