Searching for a Solution?
Most people's first impressions of this, not exactly unexpected, announcement was that two down-and-out fighters were getting together for a tag-team effort at a last shot at the mobile title. But this ignores the huge revenues that both companies make and overlooks some more encouraging signs.
For a start, on the Microsoft side, we have a company that was nowhere in search just a couple of years ago, but whose Bing search engine is now starting to be considered a serious threat to Google. It is a company that was lambasted after Windows Vista but rebounded with Windows 7 and has done a similar trick with Windows Phone 7 revitalizing its mobile line.
Engadget's pic of some prototype Nokia Win7 Phones
Sure, WP7 hasn't flown off the shelves, but all it will take is a solid range of Nokia/Microsoft products (the pic above comes from a revealing Engadget article) and interest could suddenly shoot up again, and no one in the mobile industry has more experience and design skill than Nokia. All that both companies need to do is get the right people from both sides on the job to build the right product (we'll ignore the politics and ship-jumping panic currently taking hold at Nokia; for a good read on that, visit The Register).
The Search For Success
Microsoft paid good money to partner with Nokia, which starts using Bing and adCenter in its existing phones now to give the deal some early validity -- since, according to Nokia, it could take up to two years for all-new devices to start showing up.
Nokia still has around a quarter of the market in mobile shipments. Will those devices start switching search to Bing? The extra numbers behind Bing will make it a bigger player in the market, and they can do better deals with a wider range of the third-party ad markets out there.
Also, Bing and adCenter will appear in Nokia Maps, making it a bigger player in location-based advertising. Finally, assuming the right phones are built and sell well when they are released, all of a sudden the use of both search and ad products as weapons in the search engine wars will take on extra significance.
Add in the not-too-distant arrival of devices with mobile payment, and Bing could generate even more revenue for both companies -- making this deal rather a smart move, if things turn out as the partners hope.
As a side note, to get this deal rolling, Nokia is offering free phones to developers to encourage some loyalty and progress when the Nokia Win 7 phones start rolling out.