In our sitdown with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop
out at Mobile World Congress
today, we brought up something that had come up during his press conference and Q&A session last Sunday evening -- that the company's partnership with Microsoft would generate "billions, not millions" of dollars' worth of value. This quickly morphed into an internet-wide story that Microsoft would basically be cutting a ten-figure check to Espoo in exchange for launching devices running its platform, but the reality is that Elop never said anything close to that: in fact, when we specifically asked how the money was flowing and who would be seeing black ink upfront, Elop said on no certain terms that they're not talking specifics of the deal. He goes on to say that it's a "very balanced relationship," which would indicate to us that there wasn't any massive cash transfer to kick this thing off. Regardless, the fact remains: at no time did he say Microsoft was paying to make it happen -- and considering Nokia's needs, we wouldn't be surprised if this was nearly a zero-sum transaction: Microsoft gets a huge boost in the platform's profile along with some services it needs, while Nokia gets a platform that it wasn't able to make itself. Makes sense to us.