Bing Maps to get Nokia branding - and not just on Windows Phone

Since Nokia embraced Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, the company's relationship with Microsoft has always been represented as a mutually beneficial one. Nokia would gain the impressive Windows Phone operating system and access to Microsoft’s complementary services – such as Zune, Office Mobile, SkyDrive and Xbox LIVE – while Microsoft would benefit from Nokia’s global retail and network relationships around the world, as well as Nokia’s extensive mapping and location-based services.

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has revealed that this will soon become evident in a much more visible way, with the Nokia brand name being used on Microsoft services that use Nokia expertise and data.

“You’ll start seeing the word ‘Nokia’ on a map that you get from Microsoft properties over a period of time,” Elop said, “even if you are on a BlackBerry device, who recently said they were going to start using Bing Maps.”

Indeed, it seems that Nokia is eager to get worldwide exposure for their expertise; the company clearly believes that if they are to infuse Microsoft services with Nokia data and intelligence, they should get brand recognition for it. Elop added: “Part of the relationship we established with Microsoft is that we are clearly placing a bet on the Microsoft platform; [and] they are placing a bet on our location-based platform: mapping, navigation and so forth.”

If you were in any doubt that this was just a one-off, perhaps a token gesture by Microsoft for its most-valued mobile partner, think again. Elop underlined that this is just the beginning: “In the time ahead, what you will see is, across all the Microsoft properties, including Bing Maps, more and more work will be done by Nokia.”

While Nokia clearly enjoys plenty of access to some of Microsoft’s most valuable brands through Windows Phone, Elop emphasized that Nokia’s superiority in mapping and location-based services ensures that the relationship isn’t totally one-sided: “We did that for important reasons as we had the better mapping assets, so it made sense. But it also creates some balance in the relationship with Microsoft.”

We’re unlikely to see ‘Nokia Maps’ replace the Bing Maps brand any time soon though; it’s far more likely that Bing Maps will remain the primary brand, while Nokia will receive a secondary credit, perhaps in a similar way to how NAVTEQ is co-credited for Nokia’s map data.

But Nokia will certainly have won a good deal of brand exposure in having its name and/or logo splashed across maps on devices outside of the Windows Phone ecosystem – it can only be a good thing for strengthening awareness of the company’s offerings among consumers.  

Original image via The Guardian

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