Software giant Microsoft and Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia are in talks over joining forces to develop the technology of tomorrow.
Finland was the venue for discussions between Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Nokia?s president, Jorma Ollila along with top Nokia management, but they amounted to ?nothing concrete,? according to Lauri Kivinen head of communications for Nokia.
Gates, who said he saw Nokia as ?a very key partner? for the next generation of hardware revealed Microsoft?s vision of Pcs five years from now as ?a wireless device you can carry around. You can connect this tablet-size PC to the wireless network and get access to the information of your choice.?
Commenting on Gates? speech, Kivinen said: ?It is fascinating to think we will see a computer in every pocket and every car and they?re both mobile with no wires. As a leading company in the wireless area, we both have a common interest.?
Nigel Deighton, research director of the Gartner Group said: ?Microsoft are chasing round to get agreements with the hardware vendors interested in their Windows CE type operating systems which can be used for portable hand-held systems.
They are gathering support for the next generation of devices which will be portable and wireless. This ties up with Nokia - they?d be ideal partners with their wireless infrastructure.?
Kivinen ?categorically denied? any suggestion that either company would be buying part of the other. ?There are no announcements.? he said. ?It was a routine meeting, but a good one - part of continuous discussions Nokia are holding with leading companies in the field. We exchanged ideas on many issues standards, compatabilities between software, hardware and telecommunications companies.?
Kivenen was positive about Nokia?s relationship with Microsoft: ?We are big customers of Microsoft?s office software in Finland,? he said, but he refused to rule out other partners: ?It is a continuous stream of new product introduction and co-operation between partners.?
About any possible deal, Deighton said: ?Nokia won?t tie itself to any exclusive contract which will limit its ability to innovate. The balance would be more in the Microsoft favour as it could benefit from Nokia?s mobile data communications.?
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