Microsoft in Talks with Nokia on Windows Phone 7?

Rumors flew in September, when Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia hired Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's Business Division, to be its new CEO, that it might mean another outlet for Windows Phone 7.

But how about an entire line of phones?

Due to his ties to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which is in the process of introducing its Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system worldwide, the speculation held that the software titan might have a foot in the door at Nokia with Elop in command.

Now, a noted Russian wireless blogger claims to have been in touch with anonymous sources who say the two companies are in discussions to put Windows Phone 7 on at least some of Nokia's smartphones. While the original post is in Russian, Microsoft's Bing language translator rendered much of it in quasi-readable English.

"During the last month, behind closed doors is a discussion on Nokia and Microsoft enhanced cooperation (bilateral discussions, initiated a new direction of Nokia). Not just the exchange of technology, but a whole line of Windows Phone device that may go under mark Nokia, through the company, and will have the characteristics of its products," Eldar Murtazin said in a post on the Mobile-review.com blog, Monday.

The blog post was apparently first spotted by wireless news site unwiredview.com.

"We do not comment on rumors or speculation," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 -- the company's attempt to break into the explosive market for smartphones like Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android -- last February at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

Right on schedule, on Oct. 11, Microsoft rolled out Windows Phone 7 in a New York gala that was webcast around the world.

However, Microsoft officials have been notably silent about how Windows Phone 7 handsets have been selling since they first became available in the U.S. in early November.

Meanwhile, industry observers say that Microsoft remains in a shaky market position with what they view as the company's last best chance to have a share of the mobile client market.

Nokia holds some 7.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to a Dec. 3 report from analytics researcher comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR).

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Microsoft, smartphone, Nokia, Windows Phone 7, Symbian