Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Liveblogging Yahoo-Nokia Partnership Announcement: Email and Maps Horsetrading

As BoomTown reported last week, Yahoo planned to announce a partnership deal with Nokia this morning, centering on email and mapping.

At the announcement, the companies said Nokia will be the exclusive global provider of Yahoo’s maps and navigation services, integrating Ovi Maps across Yahoo properties and branded as “powered by Ovi.” And Yahoo will become the exclusive global provider of Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services branded as “Ovi Mail/Ovi Chat powered by Yahoo.”

This morning at 7 am PT, I liveblogged the event, which took place in New York, with Yahoo (YHOO) Carol Bartz and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of the Finland-based handset maker.

As you will see, it was over in a flash.

Last week, Yahoo sent out an invite for the press conference, which read:

“Please join Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz for an exciting announcement about providing global consumers with rich online and mobile experiences, and bringing forward a new era in keeping consumers connected.”

Nokia (NOK) is the largest manufacturer of mobile devices in the world, although it has lost ground in the key new arena to innovative smartphones, which are being pushed by Google (GOOG) via its Android operating system and in recent years, by Apple (AAPL) with its iPhone.

Here we go:

7:02 am PT: Nokia reminded everyone to “keep our cellphones on.” Get it? Ha. Ha. Ha.

It was Bartz of Yahoo and Nokia’s Kallasvuo on the line. It sounded–I was on the horn from California–a bit tinny, actually.

Just as I wrote, they unveiled a partnership related to Yahoo email going on Nokia devices, but also including Nokia maps on Yahoo.

Yahoo’s map offerings have been weak for a long time now, as Google and Microsoft (MSFT) mapping efforts have grown strong.

Both Bartz and Kallasvuo said very little about anything, except how great it all is.

I would include quotes, but they were really dull!

7:11 am PT: It then opened for questions, but it seemed BoomTown was somehow cut off!

Oh well, foiled again–which is to say, not at all, since we already scooped this deal last week.

Thus, some background:

The partnership–code-named “Project Nike” after the Greek goddess of victory and not the athletic footwear giant–has been under consideration for many years between the companies without result.

Yahoo has had a range of various mobile initiatives and has had many, mostly failed, partnerships with carriers and telecom makers.

But without its own phone or mobile operating system, the Internet giant is essentially nowhere in what has become the most important digital sector today.

Nokia, which makes more mobile devices than any other company, has also struggled to keep up the lightning-fast pace of innovation and has been looking for ways to compete as the landscape shifts dramatically.

Thus, the Nokia deal is likely to be a splashy centerpiece of Wednesday’s investor day by Yahoo in Silicon Valley, which will feature Bartz and her senior management.

Here is the entire press release:

Nokia and Yahoo! to Bring Integrated Web Services to Millions of Consumers around the World

Global Strategic Alliance Enables Industry Leaders to Leverage Strengths in E-mail, Instant Messaging, Maps and Navigation across PC and Mobile Devices

NEW YORK, May 24, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), announced a worldwide strategic alliance to extend the reach of their industry leading online services and offer people rich experiences that keep them connected to their world and the world around them.

Building on more than five years of collaboration, Nokia and Yahoo! will leverage each others’ strengths in e-mail, instant messaging and maps and navigation services, to provide consumers with access to world-class experiences on both PC and mobile devices.

As part of the alliance:

* Nokia will be the exclusive, global provider of Yahoo!’s maps and navigation services, integrating Ovi Maps across Yahoo! properties, branded as “powered by Ovi.”

* Yahoo! will become the exclusive, global provider of Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services branded as “Ovi Mail / Ovi Chat powered by Yahoo!”

* Nokia and Yahoo! plan to work on ID federation between their services, beginning by making it easy for people to use their Ovi user IDs across select Yahoo! properties to easily access the online content and services they need.

“Delivering great user experiences–both online and on your mobile–is what this alliance is all about,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO, Nokia. “We’re enabling millions of Yahoo! customers in key markets including North America to discover the unique capabilities that Ovi Maps brings. Similarly, Yahoo!’s online expertise will bring exciting mail and messaging enhancements to millions of Ovi Mail customers across almost every country around the world, many of whom will have their first Internet experience on their mobile.”

“What a combination,” said Carol Bartz, CEO, Yahoo!. “We’re excited to expand the reach of our best-in-class Mail and Messenger services, bringing personalized experiences to more people across the mobile Web, particularly in emerging markets where we are seeding the next generation of Yahoo! users. At the same time, we believe Nokia’s strength and continued investment in maps and navigation will greatly enhance our existing products, enabling us to focus on areas that are core to our business.”

Together, Yahoo! and Nokia will continue to deliver compelling Internet experiences that address the core needs of consumers, developers, operators and advertisers. The companies will utilize their respective global distribution advantages and brand recognition across consumer audiences.

Select, co-branded service offerings are expected to become available from the second half of 2010, with global availability expected in 2011.


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