Nokia teams up with Microsoft to take on Apple, Google
Nokia, the mobile phone maker which this week urged staff to embrace "radical change" or risk being consumed by "burning flames", has joined up with Microsoft to take on Google and Apple.
The Finnish company said on Friday it would use Windows Phone as the software platform for its smartphones as part of a "broad strategic partnership".
Stephen Elop, the new chief executive brought in help Nokia regain its leading position in the sector, said: "It’s now a three-horse race."
Nokia has lost share in the fast-growing and lucrative smartphone market to Apple’s iPhone and products based on Google’s Android platform, which claimed the top spot from the company last quarter.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is regarded by industry experts as a leading edge technology but has not yet gained success among consumers.
Under the proposed partnership, Nokia will use the Windows Phone platform to innovate in areas such as imaging, where it is a market leader.
Steven Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said: "The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute."
Geoff Blaber, of CCS Insight, said: "This is a partnership born out of both parties’ fear of marginalisation at the hands of Apple and Google but there is no silver bullet.
"This is a very frank admission that Nokia’s platform strategy has failed and underlines the seriousness of Nokia’s position. Such a move would have been unthinkable just 12 months ago."
Earlier this week, Mr Elop, the first non-Finn to head the company, compared Nokia to a man standing on a "burning platform" forced to decide whether to stand still and be "consumed by the burning flames" or jump into "freezing waters".
"We are standing on a burning platform," he said in the speech, which was later posted on Nokia’s internal blog. "We have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.
"There is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time."
In the blog post, which was leaked to US technology website Engadget, Mr Elop said it was "unbelievable" that Nokia still does not have a device to rival the iPhone, which first went on sale in 2007.