Microsoft, in turn, could expand its presence outside the U.S. with Nokia devices. Nokia's global market share slipped by 9 percent in 2010, but it still sits at 30.6 percent, second only to Android's 32 percent global share, according to market research firm Canalys. That gives Microsoft the potential to grow its worldwide mobile market share by 20 to 25 percent over time.
Giving Nokia Windows Phone Flexibility
If Nokia is going to allow its hardware to become Windows Phone 7 devices, they will probably demand a little flexibility to avoid being just another Microsoft OEM. Nokia will likely not agree to the locked-down Windows Phone 7 design specifications that are now being forced upon phone makers.
In his letter, Ahmad suggests Nokia should build its high-end smartphones around Windows Phone 7 and eventually bring costs down to get its smartphones into the mid-range market. Nokia, writes Ahmad, should also be given the leeway to hang on to its Symbian OS and push it out on low-to-mid market smartphones.
Veteran Microsoft watcher and ZD Net blogger Mary Jo Foley writes that granting such leeway is essential to any Microsoft-Nokia mobile partnership ever happening.
"Maybe Microsoft, hoping to boost its market share in a fell swoop a la Yahoo (YHOO) in the search space, will bend the rules and give Nokia more leeway," Foley writes. "If not, color me skeptical of Nokia going the WP7 route."
Nokia Will Be an EXCLUSIVE Non-Android Hardware Partner
One creeping fear for Microsoft is that hardware partners like Samsung, HTC and LG will (understandably) give the more popular Android OS priority over Windows Phone 7.
It's probably too late for Nokia to pursue Android, with its long line of hardware cohorts already in place. That said, WP7 could be the underutilized mobile OS that Nokia could nurture exclusively, and Microsoft could have exclusive rights to a global hardware leader that is contractually bound not to ditch Microsoft for Android.
Elop's chat with Nokia investors on Friday will hopefully put closure on the scuttlebutt about a Nokia and Microsoft mobile partnership.
What do you think: deal or no deal?
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