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Nokia, Siemens in Mobile Software Pact

In a deal that speaks volumes about the shaky state of the mobile phone industry, market leader Nokia on Thursday said it would collaborate with rival Siemens to create and drive the implementation of mobile terminal software based on open standards.

More importantly, Finland-based Nokia said Siemens would buy software for its smart phones that send e-mails, images, the first time Nokia is licensing it's technology on a commercial scale to a third-party rival. Financial terms of the transaction were not released.

With competitors like Motorola and Samsung gaining ground for market share in the mobile space, Nokia said the first step in its collaboration with Siemens would include licensing and developing the Series 60 software platform within a partnership structure.

"Nokia and Siemens have agreed to combine their efforts in mobile terminal software applications by providing common tools and by creating new market-making opportunities for developers. Within this framework the companies will start to explore new opportunities to achieve maximum interoperability between mobile devices and applications, thus adding value for operators, developers, corporations and consumers," Nokia said in a statement.

"Both parties are committed to developing and implementing common software functions and features for mobile devices. Furthermore, the companies intend to increase and serve the developer community for mobile terminal software applications," it added.

Siemens, which has headquarters in Germany, said it would implement the Series 60 software platform in Symbian OS-based smart phones and partner with Nokia on future development of the Series 60. "Thus, programming interfaces, that are necessary to develop applications and related tools, will be available to software developers worldwide on both companies' websites. As the programming interfaces will be the same, developers will enjoy significant benefits through easy access to both the Nokia and Siemens product platforms," the company said.

To push the interoperability button, Nokia and Siemens have also agreed to support and actively contribute to the work on key open standards and technologies in respective standardization and industry forums. No details on these plans were provided.

News of the partnership comes as Boston-based research firm Strategy Analystics released statistics that show Motorola , Samsung and Siemens all gaining ground on Nokia during the first quarter this year.

Strategy Analystics said Nokia's market share barely climbed to 35.4 percent in the quarter, up from 35.2 percent in the same year-ago period while Motorola enjoyed a full 2 percent jump from 13.2 percent to 15.6 a year earlier. The statistics show that Samsung owned about 10.4 percent of the market, up from 6.5 in the first quarter of 2001.