Microsoft and Nokia Push Ahead With Windows Phone 7

The ink is barely dry on the deal that Microsoft and Nokia signed last week, and the mobile handset giant is already trying to recruit its loyal base of third-party developers to rewrite their existing apps -- and create new ones -- using Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (WP7) operating system.

On Feb. 11, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the Finnish phone maker signed an agreement that will make WP7 the operating system that runs all Nokia smartphones.

As part of the initiative to get developers on board Nokia's massive strategic shift, the company has told its community of developers that they soon will receive Windows Phone 7 devices from the company to write and test code on, according to an email sent to Nokia Launchpad members, and published by tech enthusiast site SlashGear on Friday.

"In light of the strategy announcement made by Nokia and Microsoft last week, we are writing to you today to assure you that our commitment to you and your work to develop innovative apps for Nokia devices remains as strong as ever," the email said.

"To assist you with your development activities in the near-term, we will ship one free Nokia E7 device to all program members. Additionally, we will send to you one free Nokia WP7 device, as soon as it becomes available," the email added.

The deal has been controversial already. Some 1,500 Nokia employees walked off the job one day last week to show their opinions regarding the deal and to show support for continuing to use Nokia's two existing smartphone OSes -- the aging Symbian and MeeGo, which it had been co-developing with Motorola.

However, some analysts have said that Nokia, whose star has been falling as the feature phone market has started to disappear, and Microsoft, which has virtually no presence in mobile client markets such as phones and tablets, need each other in order to survive long-term.

A Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the company would have no comment, and a Nokia spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting comment in time for publication.

Meanwhile, Microsoft quietly released its Windows Phone Connector that lets WP7 phone users synch between their handsets and media on a Mac, according to a post on the Next at Microsoft blog Friday. The connector, which the company began talking about in October, also supports up loading photos and videos from the WP7 phone as well.

The connector is available from the Mac App Store and requires Mac OS 10.6.6.

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, mobile, Nokia, Windows Phone 7, mobile os