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4/21/2011
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Nokia Gets 'Billions' To Carry Windows Phone 7

Microsoft and the Finnish phone maker reveal details of their alliance, including plans for an app store.

Microsoft and Nokia on Thursday said they have finalized the details of their partnership around Windows Phone 7 and disclosed more information about how they plan to build, market, and sell smartphones based on the mobile OS.

The companies also said they're aiming for "volume device shipments" by 2012.

"At the highest level, we have entered into a win-win partnership," said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, in a statement. "It is the complementary nature of our assets, and the overall competiveness of that combined offering, that is the foundation of our relationship," said Elop.

Under the deal, Microsoft will receive royalties from Nokia once Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 devices hit stores. In the other direction, "Nokia will receive payments measured in the billions of dollars," the companies said.

They said the payments to Nokia "recognize the value of intellectual property" but were not more specific.

Microsoft and Nokia first announced their alliance in February, but said the agreement was only preliminary. Now, all the major details have been hammered out ahead of schedule, the companies said.

"Significant progress" has already been made in developing Nokia hardware that runs Windows Phone 7, hundreds of workers from both companies have been pulled into the effort, and Nokia has begun porting key applications and services to Microsoft's mobile platform, they said.

"Together, Nokia and Microsoft will innovate with greater speed, and provide enhanced opportunities for consumers and our partners to share in the success of our ecosystem," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Elop's former boss at Microsoft, in a statement.

The companies said Nokia will create mapping, navigation, and other location-based services for Windows Phone 7 and also add imaging technologies to the platform. They also plan a number of joint outreach efforts to the developer community, and all registered Nokia developers will be able to register as a Windows Phone developer for free.

Microsoft and Nokia also plan to operate a Nokia-branded, global app store that rides on the Windows Marketplace infrastructure. Also, Nokia will help Microsoft leverage its billing agreements with 112 operators in 36 markets.

Microsoft significantly trails Apple and Google in smartphone OS market share, but Gartner recently predicted that the Nokia deal could make Windows Phone 7 the number two player in the market behind Android by 2015.

Despite some recent struggles, Nokia still ships more mobile phones than any other manufacturer in the world.

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