Fallout from Nokia/Microsoft Deal; Great Free Apps

The Nokia/Microsoft partnership really stirred things up last week, with Nokia’s stock plummeting on the announcement, and CEO Elop being forced to justify the move. This week we’ll cover some of the fallout from the deal and note briefly some video demos of a forthcoming version of Windows Phone 7. I’ll also point you to some great freeware.

Controversy Regarding Nokia/Microsoft Deal

Perhaps the most surprising news last week was a report in The Guardian that Nokia won’t introduce a Windows Phone until after a new version of the software comes out in October, variously referred to as Windows Phone 7.5 and Mango.

Microsoft is already a couple years behind the curve with its Windows Phone 7, adoption has been slow, and now we hear that the new Nokia/Microsoft phones, which were supposed to help Microsoft dislodge the iOS/Android juggernaut, will be delayed until well after October. Not a good sign.

According to a report on Yahoo News, Nokia’s stock plummeted after the announcement, and employees and investors are unhappy with the deal. At Mobile World Congress, CEO Stephen Elop released messages for both investors and employees, trying to justify the switch to the Windows Phone platform. He said it would mean an infusion of billions of dollars into Nokia, as well as lower software development costs.

It won’t be easy. The New York Times reported on the challenges faced by the new companies as they try to merge their efforts toward developing these new phones.

Pessimism/Optimism Surround Windows Phone

Microsoft wants to be the third player in the mobile arena, along with Apple and Android, but Verizon and Motorola have their doubts. CNET reported on an interview with a Verizon executive who said that he’s skeptical about Microsoft’s chances. And PCWorld says that Verizon and Motorola executives are essentially calling Windows Phone a failure.

Yet according to BusinessWeek, the Microsoft/Nokia partnership has spurred interested among app developers. And Paul Thurott offers his analysis of the partnership, concluding that Windows Phone is the most innovative software and that the alliance will make it better. Also, according to Digitimes, Acer will be coming out with some Windows Phones, which is a good sign.

Demo Videos of Upcoming WP7: Multitasking, Internet Explorer, Skydrive

An update expected in March or April will offer new features such as multitasking, the Internet Explorer 9 browser, and integration with the SkyDrive cloud computing service.

If you’re curious about these features, you can see demo videos on the Laptop magazine website.

Must-Have Free Apps

Check out CIO Magazine to see a list of “10 free apps you need right now.†The selection includes apps for Twitter, weather, Netflix, Facebook, and more, as well as Office Mobile.

Also, Microsoft recently released the free MSN Video, which according to the Windows Team Blog, offers video clips from more than 40 popular sources, including Access Hollywood, Animal Planet, CNBC, Consumer Reports, Discovery, FOX Sports, HealthDay, Howcast, Kiplinger’s, MSNBC, Stupid Videos, TODAY, and more.

And Amazon also offers a free app for Windows Phone that includes one-click ordering, wish lists, package tracking, and other features.

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