Nokia and Microsoft sign cloud and networking partnership

(Image credit: Nokia)

A new Microsoft and Nokia partnership will see the two companies combine their respective IT and telecoms technologies into joint products for enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs).

Microsoft has invested billions in cloud platforms and services for businesses, offering dedicated Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities through Azure. Meanwhile, Nokia pitches itself as an end-to-end provider of 5G kit with a growing interest in the enterprise market.

Specifically, the partners believe the union will accelerate Digital Transformation initiatives, drive automation, and allow customers to harness the power of Industry 4.0. Targeted verticals include manufacturing, smart cities, transportation, and healthcare.

Microsoft Nokia partnership

An early example of this work is the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud which combines Azure services with a private 5G-ready cellular network that provides industrial systems with better coverage, greater reliability and more flexibility than a Wi-Fi network.

Other joint efforts include SD-WAN products that improve connections to cloud services, simplify IoT device management, and AI platforms that will allow CSPs to move away from private infrastructure to adopt Azure.

“Bringing together Microsoft’s expertise in intelligent cloud solutions and Nokia’s strength in building business and mission-critical networks will unlock new connectivity and automation scenarios,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Microsoft Azure. “We’re excited about the opportunities this will create for our joint customers across industries.”

“We are thrilled to unite Nokia’s mission-critical networks with Microsoft’s cloud solutions,” said Kathrin Buvac, President of Nokia Enterprise and Chief Strategy Officer. “Together, we will accelerate the digital transformation journey towards Industry 4.0, driving economic growth and productivity for both enterprises and service providers.”

Microsoft and Nokia were major partners in the smartphone market in the first part of this decade. Nokia was effectively the flagship Windows Phone vendor before its devices and services unit was bought by Microsoft in 2013.

However the acquisition proved to be disastrous for Microsoft, which shifted away from mobile devices towards cloud services and software once Satya Nadella was appointed CEO. Nokia has since reinvented itself as one of the major players in telecoms equipment, competing with the likes of Ericsson and Huawei.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.