Rumor Mill: Nokia, Microsoft could partner on Windows Phone 7

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are thinking of collaborating on a range of smartphones running on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform, according to the Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin.

Murtazin, who has a knack for finding out scoops about Nokia, said that executives from the handset maker initiated talks with Microsoft in the past month. The two companies have been considering "an entire line" of phones that would be branded by Nokia, sold through Nokia's distribution channels and have Nokia "characteristics."

A Nokia spokesman declined to comment.

Speculation about a partnership between Nokia and Microsoft has increased since Stephen Elop took over as CEO of Nokia in September. Elop previously ran Microsoft's $19 billion business division and was responsible for the company's Office product suite. Nokia has insisted for months that Symbian will remain its smartphone platform of choice while the forthcoming MeeGo operating system will be used for high-end devices. The company has dismissed calls to run devices using Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform.

Nokia and Microsoft earlier this year unveiled a new piece of software, called Communicator Mobile, that shows smartphone users whether co-workers are available and allows them to communicate via email, text message, instant message or voice. The app is available for download in Nokia's Ovi store and was the fruit of a collaboration Nokia and Microsoft announced in 2009.

While there are definite connections between Nokia and Microsoft, some analysts think a deal on Windows Phone devices remains far off. "Nokia has always been trying to stay out of the licensing model because it's too expensive," technology consultant Julien Fourgeaud told Forbes. "They produce huge volumes of phones, so licensing would increase the cost per unit."

For more:
- see this Forbes article

Relatd Articles:
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Nokia taps Qt as its sole app development framework
Nokia, Microsoft unveil enterprise 'Communicator' software 
A cloudy forecast for Nokia-Microsoft alliance
What does Microsoft/Nokia deal mean for Windows Mobile?
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