Yahoo, Nokia Team Up on E-Mail, Maps

Yahoo and Nokia have forged a partnership that will sync up their e-mail, messaging and mapping services, extending each company's global reach both in the mobile and traditional Web.

The partnership will see Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) become the exclusive technology provider for Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) e-mail and chat services. In turn, Nokia will fulfill the same function for Yahoo's mapping and navigation services.

"It's a great example of an approach to partnership, one that is increasingly part of Yahoo's DNA -- to partner," Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz said Monday morning at a press conference. "We're laser-focused on the areas that are core to our business, but we'll partner with others when we need to add strengths to our services."

The companies said they expect the integrated, co-branded services to begin rolling out in select markets the second half of this year, with general, worldwide availability next year.

That will mean that Nokia's Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat e-mail and messaging services will soon display a "powered by Yahoo" tag once the Web pioneer takes over the technology platform. For Nokia, the world's leading handset manufacturer, the deal aims to boost its presence in the U.S. market, where its competitive position is comparatively weaker than in other regions.

"From our perspective Yahoo brings several strengths to the table. Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger are No. 1 in the U.S. on both PC and mobile devices," said Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.

"We are an unusual global company in the sense that we clearly the leader in our industry yet we do not lead in the biggest market in the world, the U.S. This is one step we are taking to change that. As we continue to get more of our devices available through the U.S. operators, we expect this alliance will be crucial in growing our Ovi services across both the mobile [market] and the Web as well."

He added, "Most importantly, Yahoo has a strong record of implementing these services seamlessly on mobile devices."

For Yahoo, the partnership continues the company's efforts to boost its profile in developing markets. Yahoo has alliances with more than 100 mobile OEMs and carriers around the world, and has partnered with Nokia on a range of services in select markets for more than five years.

The expanded partnership announced today is reminiscent of Yahoo's recent alliance with Microsoft on search engine advertising, a deal that executives have said plays to the strengths of both companies. Under that arrangement, Microsoft is taking over the engineering platform underlying Yahoo's search engine, while Yahoo will handle ad sales and marketing.

Bartz said that turning the technology powering its mapping platform over to Nokia's Navteq division is meant to rejuvenate an area of the company's suite of Web services that has been somewhat neglected.

"As for Yahoo Maps, many of you know that we haven't been focused a lot on our maps platform. This alliance changes that," Bartz said.

Through the partnership, the companies are planning to integrate their ID systems so that select Yahoo properties will accept Ovi login credentials.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Web services, Yahoo, Nokia, location-based services, mobile devices