Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which has had a string of departures from its European mobile group over the past year, is set to announce a major partnership with Nokia (NYSE: NOK) on Monday, AllThingsD’s Kara reports, citing unidentified sources. Dubbed “Project Nike” (i.e., Greek goddess, not footwear), the deal involves having Yahoo provide Nokia devices with e-mail, search and services. [Update: See Monday’s announcement here.]
Yahoo set off a wave of speculation yesterday when it issued a cryptic announcement of a press conference Monday morning, including the possibility, as Rafat noted, that it might try to one-up yesterday’s Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV bombshell with more details about its on-again, off-again Yahoo Connected TV widgets-on-TV effort.
According to the brief press conference invite, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz will have an “exciting announcement about providing global consumers with rich online and mobile experiences, and bringing forward a new era in keeping consumers connected.”
While Yahoo has been in the mobile game for more years than Google or Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Yahoo’s offerings have been eclipsed by Android’s and the iPhone’s success in driving the smartphone marketplace in terms of devices and the advertising possibilities. Yahoo has also seen other major partnerships with mobile device makers wither.
The deal with Nokia probably won’t mean the appearance of a “Yahoo phone” to directly match Google’s and Apple’s system and products, it does mean that the Finland device maker is ready to make the leap from “feature” phones to smartphones.
According to Kara, Yahoo Americas EVP Hilary Schneider was the point person on the Nokia deal, which she says closed about three weeks ago.
That was also about the time Mitch Lazar, Yahoo