Nokia & Yahoo! Announce Strategic Alliance

As expected today Yahoo! and Nokia announced a strategic alliance. As part of that the two will incorporate selected services into each other’s offerings:

  • Nokia will be the exclusive, global provider of Yahoo!’s maps and navigation services, integrating Ovi Maps across Yahoo! properties, branded as “powered by Ovi.”
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive, global provider of Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services branded as “Ovi Mail / Ovi Chat powered by Yahoo!”
  • Nokia and Yahoo! plan to work on ID federation between their services, beginning by making it easy for people to use their Ovi user IDs across select Yahoo! properties to easily access the online content and services they need.

The integration will begin later this year and roll out globally in 2011. Ads and search, interestingly, don’t appear to be part of the deal. The deal does, however, offer Yahoo! a solution for its mapping product — a product that had led the market initially but has now fallen way behind Google and Microsoft. Nokia gets additional credibility and reach for its Ovi Maps, powered by subsidiary Navteq. 

It’s curious to me that the press release and related materials are silent on the question of search and advertising.

Navteq has built/is building its own ad network. Does Navteq get to put ads on Ovi Maps on Yahoo!? And one would think that Yahoo! would have sought to be the “default” search engine for Nokia handsets.

I’m trying to find out more about these areas and will update this post if I get more information from Yahoo! 

Update: I just got this from a Yahoo! spokesperson:

Search is not part of the initial agreement announced today. The two companies will work on future collaborations.  The companies plan to monetize the services in the future. 


Let’s consider what might be the most intriguing mobile aspect of this deal from a Yahoo! perspective: Yahoo! branded turn-by-turn navigation. Google Navigation is a terrific app. Ovi Maps has tried to match it and claims better data and routing (vis-a-vis Navteq). Yahoo! could potentially just co-brand Ovi Maps and throw in some additional Yahoo! Local content along the way. 

I would be surprised if Yahoo! didn’t see this opportunity and want to develop it. That, combined with the chance to make Yahoo! (PC) Maps better probably justifies this entire deal.