Nokia and Microsoft sign ‘definitive’ partnership agreement


Nokia and Microsoft have made their mobile marriage official, announcing today that the “definitive” agreement between the two companies has been signed. The partnership, first announced in February, establishes Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile operating system as the primary OS for Nokia’s smartphone handsets.

The terms of the agreement include the establishment of a “new global mobile ecosystem,” the development of which will include “joint contributions” from both companies, Nokia said in a press release.

Nokia pointed out that “significant progress” has already been made on the development of the first generation of Nokia devices to incorporate the custom-made Windows Phone platform. The companies say they have also begun to reach out to third-party app developers.

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

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also hailed the partnership as a victory for mobile customers. “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,” he said.

According to the announcement, the Nokia-Microsoft relationship “is structured around four broad areas.” This includes a wide range of new software developments for the Windows Phone ecosystem, such as navigation, mapping and “certain location-based services,” as well as Bing search integration on Nokia devices.

“The combination of navigation with advertising and search will enable better monetization of Nokia’s navigation assets and completely new forms of advertising revenue,” Nokia says.

Nokia will also open its own “global application store that leverages the Windows Marketplace infrastructure.” The company says this will enable app developers “to publish and distribute applications through a single developer portal to hundreds of millions of consumers that use Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40 devices.”

Other areas covered in the agreement include the distribution of funds between the two companies, with Microsoft receiving royalty payments from Nokia for the use of its Windows Phone OS, and Nokia receiving “payments measured in the billions of dollars” from Microsoft for its contributions to the deal.

The first Nokia devices to run the Windows Phone OS are expected to arrive early next year.

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