Courting the largest carrier in the United States is probably at the top of any phone manufacturer's to-do list, and it's starting to sound like Nokia -- on the strength of its just-announced Windows Phone gamble -- has an uphill battle ahead of it. Verizon CTO Tony Melone has gone on record out at Mobile World Congress this week saying that he's skeptical Micosoft has the capability to meet its lofty volume goals for Windows Phone -- a little odd, considering that Verizon is on the verge of launching its first Windows Phone 7 model -- and that he doesn't think "Verizon needs the Nokia and Microsoft relationship." Referring seemingly directly to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop's desire to make the smartphone war a "three-horse race" between Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, Melone says he thinks that "right now the three OS players we see for our network are Android, Apple, and RIM." Of course, just like the iPhone, we're sure Melone's attitude could change in a snap if Windows Phone picks up enough steam -- but even in the best case, that's going to take a while.

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Verizon CTO: we don't 'need' the Nokia-Microsoft partnership; Android, iOS, and BlackBerry are the big three platforms