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Nokia and Microsoft in negotiations, WP7 partnership likely

Nokia has a big press event in London tomorrow, but it seems to have procrastinated all the hard work until the last few weeks. A few days ago, we learned of a Jan. 27th leaked memo by new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop telling Nokia employees that the company is “standing on a burning platform” and is years behind its competitors in a myriad of ways. Elop also hinted that the company may adopt a third party platform like Android or Windows Phone 7 in the near future, a first for Nokia.

Bloomberg and the WSJ are now reporting that Nokia’s Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have met and are in final negotiations to partner up and offer Windows Phone 7 on some or most Nokia devices. The question is, how much exclusivity will Microsoft give Nokia? It is in Redmond’s best interest to keep WP7 open, while it is best for Nokia if it has a unique product.

Elop has also met with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, but sources say that a partnership between Nokia and Android seems unlikely at this point. Previous reports had put Android ahead due to the lagging success of Windows Phone 7 on the market.

Elop has been hinting at changes for a while. Last month he spoke about the problems facing Nokia with its current partnerships and MeeGo platform, which is in development. “We need an attitudinal shift,” Elop said last month. “We must improve the quality of our execution, accelerate the speed at which we execute, and enhance the effectiveness of our partnerships.” Nokia recently cancelled its first MeeGo device.

Do you think it’s a wise decision for Nokia to move to Windows Phone 7? Would it be smart for Microsoft to give Nokia any form of exclusivity?

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