Nokia just announced their future plans. Rumored Microsoft partnership is official.
Nokia announced today their new strategy going forward to compete with Android and the Apple iPhone. As rumored Nokia is partnering with Microsoft to use Windows Phone as their primary smartphone platform.
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"Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward," said Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO. "Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future."
Nokia and Microsoft plan to build a global mobile ecosystem. The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem targets to deliver differentiated and innovative products and have unrivaled scale, product breadth, geographical reach, and brand identity. With Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Nokia would help drive the future of the platform by leveraging its expertise on hardware optimization, software customization, language support and scale. Nokia and Microsoft would also combine services assets to drive innovation. Nokia Maps, for example, would be at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter, and Nokia's application and content store would be integrated into Microsoft Marketplace. Under the proposed partnership, Microsoft would provide developer tools, making it easier for application developers to leverage Nokia's global scale. See also this report for more details.
And what happens to Symbian?
With Nokia's planned move to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Symbian becomes a franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value. This strategy recognizes the opportunity to retain and transition the installed base of 200 million Symbian owners. Nokia expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices in the years to come.
What about MeeGo?
Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.
Besides the Microsoft partnership, Nokia also announced a new leadership structure. The Nokia Leadership Team, previously the Group Executive Board, will consist of the following members: Stephen Elop, Esko Aho, Juha Akras, Jerri DeVard, Colin Giles, Rich Green, Jo Harlow, Timo Ihamuotila, Mary McDowell, Kai Oistamo, Tero Ojanpera, Louise Pentland and Niklas Savander. Alberto Torres has stepped down from the management team, effective February 10 to pursue other interests outside the company.
As of April 1, Nokia will have a new company structure, which features two distinct business units: Smart Devices and Mobile Phones. They will focus on Nokia's key business areas: high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones. Each unit will have profit-and-loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing.
Microsoft and Nokia together have a fighting chance against Google and Apple. The key is though execution. If Nokia is not able to speed up their roll-out of desirable smartphones they will not be able to catch up to Google and Apple. For Microsoft, Nokia could be the key to actually succeed with Windows Phone OS.