While we already knew the subject of this news, Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz officially announced Project Nike, a distribution partnership with Nokia this morning. Nokia will build Yahoo email, search, and other applications into their devices.
As part of the agreement, 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 also plan to work on ID federation between their services. Select, co-branded service offerings are expected to become available from the second half of 2010, with global availability expected in 2011.
The announcement was made at the NASDAQ in New York City. Bartz highlighted the importance of Nokia’s mapping technology integrated into Yahoo’s properties. Bartz also said they are looking to make similar partnerships with other mobile phone companies.
As my colleague MG Siegler wrote last week, this play seems to be more of a short-term gain. In terms of the long-term, the future is in smartphones, a sector where Nokia is declining. Nokia is strong, however, in sales of feature phones, which are phones that people still mainly use to do things like make phones calls and send text messages. For now, thanks to the evolving markets in third-world countries, this remains an important segment and it’s certainly a compelling opportunity for Yahoo.
Also, catch Carol Bartz speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt today about the deal and future of Yahoo.