Microsoft, Nokia Team Up to Challenge Apple, Google Smartphone market to become 'three horse race,' Nokia promises By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Feb 11, 2011 9:12 AM CST 6 comments Comments Stephen Elop CEO of Nokia, left, with CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer, speaking in London, as he announces the strategic partnership with Microsoft, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) (Newser) – Nokia and Microsoft announced a “broad strategic partnership” today, as both companies try to claw their way back into the smartphone market. Nokia will now produce a host of new Windows 7 phones that CEO Stephen Elop promises will make the segment a “three horse race” between Google, Apple, and the new Nokia-Microsoft partnership. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, meanwhile, said the move would “dramatically accelerate” Windows Mobile 7 adoption. Investors however were not impressed; Nokia shares fell 10% in early trading in Helsinki, the Guardian reports. Nokia says it will continue to use its Symbian operating system, but it will be relegated to the role of “franchise partner.” It’ll also continue to work on its open-source MeeGo OS, but in a “longer-term market exploration” capacity.