Microsoft/Nokia deal now final, signed (updated)

At today’s Nokia quarterly financial report Stephen Elop has confirmed that the deal between Microsoft and Nokia has now been signed. 

He said:

“In the first quarter, we shifted from defining our strategy to executing our strategy. On this front, I am pleased to report that we signed our definitive agreement with Microsoft and already our product design and engineering work is well under way.”

Microsoft and Nokia announced on the 11th February an agreement to enter into a broad deal where Nokia would adopt Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone operating system, and the two giants would share patents and technologies, particular around Nokia’s navigation assets.

While Windows Phone 7 has been widely lauded, Microsoft expects the deal with Nokia, who sold 24.2 million smartphones in the last quarter, to vault it into volume competitive with the iPhone and Android.

According to Ina Fried from AllthingsD, Nokia employees are already using working prototypes of Nokia Windows phones.

Microsoft phone unit President Andy Lees and Nokia Executive Vice President Kai Oistamo  stressed that things are ahead of schedule.

“We’ve gotten to where we have gotten to faster than we thought,” Lees said. “Now we know who is exactly writing each piece of code.”

“The products are not done yet,” Oistamo said. “But you can already see the signs. Everything that we talked conceptually with you in London is actually coming into real fruition.”

The first Nokia products running Windows Phone “are going to be very distinctly Nokia”, but due to the rush to market may lack great differentiation from other Windows Phone 7 handsets.

“We are jumping into a moving train,” Oistamo said. “You can do more when you have a little bit more time.”

Microsoft said they were confident they would be able to get the next big update to Windows Phone 7, Mango, out before the end of the year.

“The preference and the ambition has definitely not changed, the sooner the better,” Oistamo said.

Outside the phone business, the deal will also have other wide ramifications.

“In the case of mapping, Nokia has far and away the largest global footprint,” . “Our mapping just got better everywhere around the world.” said Andy Lees.

Nokia is also expected to install the Bing search engine on their existing Symbian phones even before launching their Windows Phone 7 handsets.

Read more at ESphoneblog.com here.

Thanks Jonne Eilimö for the tip.

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