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 (s msft) 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 (s nok) 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.