The news this week that Microsoft is buying Nokia’s services and device business prompted me to look back at my story from 2011, when the companies first announced their partnership. At Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) in Barcelona more than two years ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used his keynote speech to touch on the relationship, and he welcomed Stephen Elop on stage to talk about it as well.
Nokia (News - Alert) Corp.’s president and CEO explained the current trend precisely, saying, “The world is turning from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems.”
Indeed. That’s exactly what led these two industry giants – one, an “iconic hardware” company, as Elop noted; the other, the world’s leading software provider – to join forces.
While this relationship involved the two companies working together to create mobile products and services, the announcement went beyond that standard phrase. Surprisingly at the time, part of the deal involved Nokia adopting Windows Phone (News - Alert) as its principal smartphone strategy.
But the partnership went further still. It was to involve Nokia helping Microsoft (News - Alert) to expand the Windows Phone to more geographies, market segments and price points as part of the relationship. Its operator billing agreements were supposed to make it easier for consumers to buy Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit cards are not commonly used. Nokia Maps, its search services and devices were to be integrated with Bing and Microsoft adCenter. Microsoft development tools were be leveraged to create applications for Nokia Windows Phones. And the companies talked about combining their app stores. (Ballmer said 30,000 developers already had registered on the Mobile mobile app store at that time.)
As Elop noted in his comments at Mobile World Congress, these two companies both bring to the table global reach and distribution, big names and many other assets.
At a joint news conference announcing the partnership in London, Ballmer said, “Ecosystems thrive when fueled by speed, innovation and scale. The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute.”
Elop at the same event commented: “Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience. Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”
Image via Yahoo
Edited by Rachel Ramsey