Nokia to partner with Microsoft under new structure

Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a smartphone to take on Google and Apple as part of an overhaul of the Finnish mobile company’s business strategy.

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The handset manufacturer has outlined a new leadership and operational structure which it says is designed to “accelerate the company’s speed of execution in a dynamic competitive environment”.

Nokia will replace its group executive board with The Nokia Leadership Team and operate two distinct business units: Smart Devices and Mobile Phones.

The company is still the world’s largest handset maker but admits that it has lost out to Google Android and Apple in the smartphone market.

Earlier this week, Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO, berated the company’s lack of innovation and described it as “standing on a burning platform”.

Under the “broad strategic partnership” with Microsoft, Nokia will use the Windows Phone software as its primary smartphone platform.

The two companies will combine assets to drive innovation and Nokia’s application and content store will be integrated into Microsoft Marketplace.

Nokia has also set its sights on developing markets and aims to “connect the next billion” to the Internet.

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Nokia’s Symbian platform will become a franchise platform, and its yet to launch MeeGo platform will become an open source mobile operating system project focused on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences.

Elop says: “Nokia is at a critical juncture, where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward. Today, we are accelerating that change through a new path, aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership, reinforcing our mobile device platform and realizing our investments in the future.”

Elop joined Nokia from Microsoft in September tasked with turning around its sliding share in the smartphone market. His comments come ahead of Nokia’s srategy and financial briefing today (11 February).

Earlier this week, reports suggested that Elop would dispose of half the company’s executive board, however only one senior executive is to leave.

The Nokia Leadership Team includes:

  • Jo Harlow, will head up the Smart Devices business, focused on high-end smartphones.
  • Mary McDowell will lead the mass-market Mobile Phones business.
  • Niklas Savander will head Markets, responsible for marketing, communications and selling.
  • Larry Kaplan will lead NAVTEQ, part of Nokia’s location and advertising business.
  • Rich Green will lead The CTO Office responsible for Nokia’s technology strategy and research centre.
  • Kai Oistamo will lead the Corporate Development team, responsible for strategic partnerships.
  • Alberto Torres will step down.

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