- Title: UK/FILE: Nokia, Microsoft join forces in smartphone war
- Date: 12th February 2011
- Summary: SCREENS SHOWING PART OF PRESENTATION SCREEN READING "THIS IS THE WORLD / THIS IS THE NOKIA WORLD / NOKIA CONNECTING PEOPLE"
- Embargoed: 27th February 2011 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Communications,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA5RZWZQOLYNP1NLGRJDJSGNDE1
- Story Text: Nokia and Microsoft teamed up on Friday (February 11) to build an iPhone killer in a desperate attempt to take on Google and Apple in the fast-growing smartphone market.
In a strategic u-turn, Nokia said it would use Microsoft's Windows Phone as the software platform for its smartphones, the main plank of new chief executive Stephen Elop's overhaul of the world's biggest cellphone maker.
''Nokia and Microsoft intend to settle down into a strategic alliance. Together we will bring consumers a new experience with stellar hardware, innovative software and great services. We will create opportunities beyond anything that currently exists,'' Elop said.
''In this partnership with Nokia, Microsoft brings its windows phone software and the brands that mobile consumers want like Bing, Office and of course Xbox live,'' added Microsoft Corporation CEO Steve Ballmer.
Investors were not convinced by Elop's eagerly anticipated strategy announcement and shares in Nokia tumbled more than 11 percent as the market reacted to Nokia's saying that 2011 and 2012 would be "transition years" as it built up the partnership.
The deal would have a negative impact on Nokia's margins in the short-term, analysts said. Nokia said its operating margin would be "10 percent or more" after the transition period.
The partnership marks a major breakthrough for Microsoft which has struggled for years to establish itself in wireless.
Microsoft's Ballmer said the project will enable the companies to have an 'unparalleled global footprint.' Its Windows Phone platform, which had a 2 percent market share in the last quarter, is widely recognised by industry experts as a leading edge technology but has not yet gained success among consumers.
The decision to throw its lot in with Nokia could put others off using its software, but analysts said that on balance it was Microsoft that would gain most from the deal.
Nokia has rapidly lost share in the higher-margin smartphone market to Apple's iPhone, and products based on Google's Android platform, which claimed the top spot from the company last quarter.
In a bid to stem Nokia's losses, Chairman Jorma Ollila brought Elop in from Microsoft last September. The 47-year-old is the first non-Finn to head the company.
Nokia said in a statement it would stick with its current management team, with only one senior executive to leave. There had been speculation of a wider cull at the company.
Nokia also said it would use Microsoft's Bing search engine across its cellphones, potentially opening up a huge market for Microsoft as it seeks to build up its challenge to Google as the world's leading search engine.
Analysts said the Finnish company, which invested billions of dollars in building up mobile internet services under its previous CEO, had effectively admitted defeat in its services strategy by joining forces with Microsoft.
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