Carol Bartz and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEOs of Yahoo! and Nokia, respectively, are on stage right now announcing a "strategic relationship" between the two companies on some of their core services. Nokia will be using Yahoo to power its Ovi email and IM services, while Yahoo will be using Nokia / NAVTEQ's competencies for its mapping and navigation services. Both companies see it as a way to grow their respective userbases, with Yahoo hoping to grab onto the 9 million Ovi users out there, while Nokia hopes that Yahoo could provide it a bit of a USA mojo. Interestingly, Olli-Pekka confronted the US problem head on: "We are an unusual global company in the sense that we are clearly a global leader in our industry, and yet we do not lead in the US." Carol was similarly forthcoming, saying that Yahoo had "lost its focus on maps a couple years ago," then correcting herself, saying that they "chose to focus on other areas." The first merged services should launch in the second half of this year.
During Q&A the big answer to everything seemed to be "scale," but we also heard Carol toss in "downstream" at an opportune moment. When asked how this relates to Android, iPhone and so forth, Carol clarified that this doesn't change anything they're doing on those fronts. "It's not exclusive from that point." Each service will be branded as "powered by Yahoo" or "powered by Ovi." Yahoo will be announcing some "social-like" services for its mail and IM soon, but it's unclear if that's specifically related to this announcement. Neither company is talking financial specifics, but Olli-Pekka did make it very clear that a Yahoo-branded device wasn't forthcoming.