The two have been friends for years, with Yahoo! using Nokia's digital map feeds since the Finns bought Navteq in 2007. The friendship is expanding to more of a romance as the companies trade friendship bands. Starting later this year, and augmented in 2011, Nokia phones will use Yahoo!'s mail and instant messaging services exclusively in exchange for Yahoo! switching to Nokia's Ovi maps. Login IDs from one platform will eventually work on the other as well, and moving between Nokia and Yahoo! services on your phone should become a seamless experience.
Yes, Yahoo! is switching from one Nokia map service to another, and it's all essentially the same map database. What Yahoo! gains from that transition is navigation features, while Nokia gets its chosen brand names exposed to a wider audience -- particularly in North America, which has been a blind spot for the world's largest cell phone manufacturer.
Putting Yahoo!'s communications services on untold millions of Nokia phones is a bigger deal. As Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvou puts it, the deal puts Yahoo! in front of "millions of Ovi Mail customers across almost every country around the world, many of whom will have their first Internet experience on their mobile."
Your first Internet experience may not carry the emotional weight of your first kiss, but there is value in becoming synonymous with Internet usage. Google
In the end, this is a great move for Yahoo! in a long-term kind of way, but Nokia probably won't get that vaunted American toehold with a discreet rebranding of map services that it already owned. Send a cadre of Finnish dealmakers to AT&T
That's my take, but what's yours? Share your insights in the comments below.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Microsoft and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and our Foolish disclosure policy knows that candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.