It looks like Nokia’s “burning platform” memo wasn’t just big talk from chief executive Stephen Elop.
In an announcement released just a short while ago, the Finnish handset maker said that it would essentially be abandoning MeeGo — its troubled next-generation operating system — and partnering with Microsoft to make Windows Phone 7 its smartphone software of choice.
For lower end phones, the company will stick with Symbian for the time being, but Elop — who joined from Microsoft just a few months ago — made his longer-term intentions dramatically clear.
“Nokia is at a critical juncture where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward,” he says. “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.”
It is not just a simple deal between the two companies, however. The Nokia-Microsoft link goes much deeper than just porting Windows Phone over onto Nokia’s devices, as an open letter from Elop and Steve Ballmer makes clear.
There will also be:
- Close collaboration on future development
- Integration of Bing into Nokia devices, and deployment of Microsoft’s AdCenter for on-phone advertising
- Nokia’s Ovi Maps (previously NavTeq) will become the core service behind Microsoft’s mapping products
- The integration of the two company’s application and content stores
Elop has also changed the company’s top level structure, effectively separating it into a legacy business unit focused on Symbian and a series of other groups focused on the future. It’s certainly a bold and decisive move.
Nokia will be holding a briefing in a few hours to answer questions.