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Could an Alliance With Microsoft Reverse Nokia's Smartphone Slump?
BY Kit EatonToday

There's a lot of current speculation that Nokia may be partnering with Microsoft to jolt its smartphone offerings--vital for the phone giant's future. But does this alliance make sense?
The New York Times is reporting on the rumors today, and notes that for four days in a row now Nokia's share price has hiked gently upward based on nothing but the strength of these whispers. The scuttlebutt is that Nokia may adopt Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system for its smartphones, either as a partner or a complete replacement for Nokia's own struggling smartphone operating systems.
The crux of the argument is that Nokia is being very swiftly left behind by Apple's iPhone iOS, Google's Android OS, and even RIM's new BlackBerry 6 OS--all three are very user-friendly, touchscreen-centric advanced operating systems that work with a smoothness and graphical finesse that makes Nokia's efforts to keep up look positively 20th century. Whatever Nokia's spending its billions of dollars of R&D money on, it's obviously not been on the right kind of OS innovation, and this is crippling the smartphone hopes of the world's biggest cell phone maker.
The alliance rumors are based on a few factual nuggets: Nokia's new chief executive, Stephen Elop, was formerly a Microsoft man. Speaking to analysts at the end of January, Elop noted Nokia was going to develop targeted strategies for its low, medium, and high-price phone businesses--including the fact Nokia could "create and/or join other ecosystems." Yesterday, Nokia dedicated a new office in Silicon Valley, and revealed it was recruiting local developers for new projects. And Elop has indicated he'll be making a major speech to investors on February 11th, in London.
Could this be the reveal of a Nokia-Microsoft alliance, heralding the arrival of Windows on Nokia phones--and possibly the abandonment of the aging Symbian and the newer...

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