Nokia Sees ‘Signs of Danger’ for Google Partners After Motorola

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop said Google Inc. (GOOG)’s purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. would pose a danger to companies using Google’s Android mobile-phone operating system.

“If I happened to be someone, an Android manufacturer or an operator, anyone with a stake in that environment, I would be picking up my phone and calling certain executives at Google and saying ‘I see signs of danger,’” Elop, 47, told an business forum in Helsinki today.

Google this week agreed to buy Motorola Mobility, one of dozens of handset makers using Android software, for $12.5 billion. Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, is shifting to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Phone 7 system, which competes with Android and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. Elop, said today the Google- Motorola deal makes the presence of the “third ecosystem” more important in balancing the power of Android and Apple.

“In February when we announced the new strategy going forward, we made a decision to enter into a partnership that ensures the promise of what we described here today as well as many other things that we still have not shared and are still in our future,” Elop said.

‘Danger’

Danger is also the name of a company co-founded by current Google mobile chief Andy Rubin that made an early smartphone letting users surf the Web and write e-mails on a keyboard. Rubin later left the company and co-founded Android Inc., which was bought by Google in 2005. Microsoft bought Danger in 2008.

Nokia is working on so-called augmented reality applications displaying information such as descriptions, navigation paths, friends’ locations and shopping guides overlaid on the changing camera view of the user’s surroundings, Elop said. The Espoo, Finland-based company last month added a division specializing in location and commerce, including its Navteq maps business.

Android is used by dozens of handset vendors including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. (066570) and HTC Corp., all of which have also made devices based on Windows Phone.

Nokia plans to ship handsets running Microsoft’s new “Mango” software for the Windows Phone 7 in the fourth quarter, with volume shipments starting next year. Microsoft and Nokia have been recruiting operators and applications writers to ensure adequate supply of applications for the Mango devices. Microsoft and device manufacturers are planning separate launch events in the next months, Vesa-Matti Paananen, who leads Microsoft’s Windows Phone partnership efforts in Finland, said in an interview yesterday.

‘Tremendous Momentum’

“Since the day we announced our strategy on Feb. 11 there are now somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 applications that have been delivered for our upcoming platform, so there’s tremendous momentum,” Elop said today.

Polar Mobile, a Toronto-based company that makes mobile applications for media including Wired Magazine, Globe & Mail newspaper and Bloomberg Businessweek, said today that it plans to introduce more than 300 applications for Windows Phone 7 and other Nokia platforms over the next year.

Android was the best-selling smartphone operating system in the second quarter as sales rose more than fourfold to 43.3 percent of the market, led by Samsung and HTC, according to Gartner Inc. Apple had an 18.2 percent share. While Motorola Mobility’s Droid phones have found a following in the U.S., globally the company ranks outside the top players in the smartphone market.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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