Microsoft and Nokia's industry-altering announcement of a strategic alliance back in February has today been bolstered with the signing of a definitive agreement between the two companies. In announcing the inking of the paperwork, the Microkia crew point out that they're already hard at work developing "a portfolio" of Nokia Windows Phone devices, which will be shipping "in volume" in 2012, but there's still a twinkling hope that they can get something out on the market in 2011. Nokia devs have started porting key applications and services to Windows Phone, with mapping and navigation getting a highlight mention, while there will indeed be a "Nokia-branded global application store that leverages the Windows Marketplace infrastructure." Notably, this is described as a single portal where devs can serve their apps to users of Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40 devices -- it'll be interesting to see how they work out the details of that. There's also confirmation that Microsoft will pay Nokia multiple billions of dollars as part of the agreement, some of which will be spent on completing an intellectual property-sharing agreement between the two teams. So yes, the third ecosystem is well and truly on its way.
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Nokia and Microsoft sign definitive agreement ahead of schedule

Nokia Corp
NOK | 4/21/2011 6:12:28 AM
Espoo, Finland, Apr 21, 2011 (Thomson Reuters ONE via COMTEX News Network) --

Key contributions to new global mobile ecosystem agreed and significant progress made on engineering of new products

Nokia Corporation

Stock exchange release

April 21, 2011 at 13.10 (CET +1)

Espoo, Finland and Redmond, US - Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement on a partnership that will result in a new global mobile ecosystem, utilizing the very complementary assets of both companies. Completed ahead of schedule, the definitive agreement is consistent with the joint announcement made on February 11.

In addition to agreeing to the terms of their partnership, including joint contributions to the development of the new ecosystem, Nokia and Microsoft also announced significant progress on the development of the first Nokia products incorporating Windows Phone. With hundreds of personnel already engaged on joint engineering efforts, the companies are collaborating on a portfolio of new Nokia devices. Nokia has also started porting key applications and services to operate on Windows Phone and joint outreach has begun to third party application developers.

"At the highest level, we have entered into a win-win partnership," said Stephen Elop, President and CEO of Nokia Corporation. "It is the complementary nature of our assets, and the overall competitiveness of that combined offering, that is the foundation of our relationship."

"Our agreement is good for the industry," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. "Together, Nokia and Microsoft will innovate with greater speed, and provide enhanced opportunities for consumers and our partners to share in the success of our ecosystem."

The relationship is structured around four broad areas:

1. A combination of complementary assets, which make the partnership truly unique, including:

- Nokia to deliver mapping, navigation, and certain location-based services to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Nokia will build innovation on top of the Windows Phone platform in areas such as imaging, while contributing expertise on hardware design and language support, and helping to drive the development of the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft will provide Bing search services across the Nokia device portfolio as well as contributing strength in productivity, advertising, gaming, social media and a variety of other services. The combination of navigation with advertising and search will enable better monetization of Nokia's navigation assets and completely new forms of advertising revenue.

- Joint developer outreach and application sourcing, to support the creation of new local and global applications, including making Windows Phone developer registration free for all Nokia developers.

- Opening a new Nokia-branded global application store that leverages the Windows Marketplace infrastructure. Developers will be able to publish and distribute applications through a single developer portal to hundreds of millions of consumers that use Windows Phone, Symbian and Series 40 devices.

- Contribution of Nokia's expertise in operator billing to ensure participants in the Windows Phone ecosystem can take advantage of Nokia's billing agreements with 112 operators in 36 markets.

2. Microsoft will receive a running royalty from Nokia for the Windows Phone platform, starting when the first Nokia products incorporating Windows Phone ship. The royalty payments are competitive and reflect the large volumes that Nokia expects to ship, as well as a variety of other considerations related to engineering work to which both companies are committed. Microsoft delivering the Windows Phone platform to Nokia will enable Nokia to significantly reduce operating expenses.

3. In recognition of the unique nature of Nokia's agreement with Microsoft and the contributions that Nokia is providing, Nokia will receive payments measured in the billions of dollars.

4. An agreement that recognizes the value of intellectual property and puts in place mechanisms for exchanging rights to intellectual property. Nokia will receive substantial payments under the agreement.

With the definitive agreement now signed, both companies will begin engaging with operators, developers and other partners to help the industry understand the benefits of joining the new ecosystem. At the same time, work will continue on developing Nokia products on the Windows Phone platform, with the aim of securing volume device shipments in 2012. The scale of both companies' mutual commitment is significant and is in keeping with the intention to build a new ecosystem based on this long-term, strategic partnership.

About Nokia

Nokia is committed to connecting people to what matters to them by combining advanced mobile technology with personalized services. More than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia, from our most affordable voice-optimized mobile phones to advanced Internet-connected smartphones sold in virtually every market in the world. Through Ovi (www.ovi.com), people also enjoy access to maps and navigation on mobile, a rapidly expanding applications store, a growing catalog of digital music, free email and more. Nokia's NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, and Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the leading providers of telecommunications infrastructure hardware, software and professional services globally.

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Nokia and Microsoft sign definitive agreement, bring Windows Phone handsets closer to realization