It's no secret that Nokia has been in trouble for some time -- especially in the U.S. market, where Symbian (its smartphone OS of choice) just didn't enjoy the same success that it did in Europe. The problem has only gotten worse with the advent of Android and iOS, truly modern smartphone operating systems that make Symbian look like a quaint mess from a bygone era. MeeGo, a project that saw Intel and Nokia join forces on a Linux-based mobile OS, was supposed to take over for Symbian, but development has been slow and Nokia ran out of patience. Today, the struggling mobile phone company, once the number one seller of cell phones worldwide, announced that its primary focus would now be on Windows Phone 7-based handsets. The partnership goes beyond simply shoehorning Microsoft's mobile OS into Nokia's beautifully built phones. Obviously, Bing and Microsoft's adCenter will be featured heavily on the handset, and Nokia intends to build "on top of the platform" using its particular areas of expertise, which includes imaging. (Nokia phones are renowned for taking top-notch photos.)
Other services will also get joined together. OviMaps will be integrated with Bing Maps to improve Microsoft's offering, and Nokia's content store will be folded into Microsoft's Marketplace. As you would expect, both Office and Xbox Live will also be making their way to Nokia handsets. The announcement is exciting, not because it means there will yet another Windows Phone maker on the market, but because Nokia will actively work with Microsoft to improve the mobile OS, and expand the ecosystem in a legitimate attempt to challenge Android and iOS. Watch the full announcement after the break.