Nokia Under Fire For Being ‘Paid Off’ By Microsoft to Push Windows Phone Platform

Leading mobile phone maker Nokia is drawing widespread criticism from its new strategic partnership with Microsoft. Announced Friday ahead of the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Nokia will be compensated “billions of dollars” from Microsoft in return for Nokia pushing the adoption of the Windows Phone platform.

Although the ethics of the deal are being heavily ridiculed, Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop defended the deal on Friday, arguing that there’s nothing improper about Microsoft spending good money to promote its upstart mobile phone platform.

“This is something I don’t think was completely explained,” said Elop, the Nokia chief who was still president of Microsoft’s Business division just six months ago.

Elop said Finland-based Nokia had been courted by Google as well, which sought to persuade it to use its popular Android software for smartphones.

According to Elop, Microsoft is simply paying Nokia because it has “substantial value to contribute.” Some are naturally scoffing at the deal, claiming Microsoft is essentially “paying off” Nokia, which will continue to decrease its use of the Symbian operating system for future smartphones. Instead, a slate of new devices running Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will be introduced.

At the Barcelona event, Elop was asked whether he’s a “Trojan horse” — a Microsoft insider who’s penetrated Nokia and steered it in a direction favorable to Microsoft. “The obvious answer is ‘No,’ ” Elop said. “Thanks for asking.”

Analysts have long believed that Google similarly pays manufacturers to use Android, but according to the Associated Press report covering the new deal between Nokia and Microsoft, “no figures have come to light.”