Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
2/7/2011
01:20 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Nokia To Embrace Windows Phone 7?

Mobile industry insiders say a deal under which Nokia would turn to Microsoft's new software as its go-to OS could be announced as soon as this week.

Microsoft and Nokia are said to be discussing a partnership that would see the Finnish phone maker adopt Windows Phone 7 as the primary operating system for its mobile devices in a number of markets, including the U.S.

Various media outlets are reporting that a deal could be announced as soon as this week. Microsoft and Nokia have not confirmed the talks.

Nokia remains the world's largest cell phone maker, but its market share has come under significant threat from Google Android and Apple's iPhone. Microsoft, meanwhile, is struggling to build momentum for its Windows Phone 7 platform, which debuted last November. An alliance, it's thought, could give both companies a much needed boost.

Speculation favors a scenario that would see Nokia adopt Windows Phone 7 for its higher end smartphone lineup. That would free the company from the multi-billion dollar per year commitment to research, develop, and market the open source Symbian.

Such a deal would give Microsoft an exclusive hardware partner who could boost its footprint in international markets where it currently has little presence. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is a former Microsoft senior executive who is well-versed in Redmond's culture and operating methods. Elop is said to be contemplating a major shakeup of Nokia's top brass in an effort to reinvigorate the company.

But there's also a chance an alliance could do little to help Microsoft or Nokia in the mobile market, where they risk becoming afterthoughts amid the buzz surrounding Android and the iPhone.

Major U.S. carriers have shoved Nokia phones to the back of their warehouses in favor of offerings from Android OEMs like Samsung and HTC. As of Monday, AT&T was offering just two Nokia phones on its Web site, T-Mobile was pitching four, and Sprint had none.

"Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market," said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, in a research note Monday. "It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors' smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian."

IDC noted that Nokia's share of the worldwide smartphone market slipped to 33.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 39% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The carriers don't seemed to be overly enthralled with Windows Phone 7-based devices either, as many have reduced the price on those phones by 50% or more since launching them only three months ago. Microsoft recently said it has shipped more than 2 million Windows Phone 7 units, but it's unclear how many of those have actually made it into the hands of consumers.

Microsoft shares were up 1.98%, to $28.32, in afternoon trading Monday. Nokia shares were up 1.76%, to $11.24.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.