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Should Nokia switch to Windows Phone 7? Analysts say yes

Nokia's shares are on the rise thanks to rumours that the company will announce its first Windows Phone 7 smart phone next week, with analysts urging the company to buddy up with Microsoft.

Will Nokia announce next week that it's going to start making Windows Phone 7 smart phones? Industry analysts are hoping so, even if the comments last month by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop that fuelled the speculation made no direct reference to Microsoft's software.

"I don’t know if this is just wishful thinking, but it could definitely be the big announcement we are expecting," Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi tells the New York Times, and she's backed up by Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham: "I can see how this could benefit both companies."

They were speaking after Nokia's share price rose more than 4 per cent, after yet another analyst -- Adnaan Ahmad from Berenberg Bank --  wrote an open letter to Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The letter urged them both to stop piddling about and work together to take on iPhone and Android. We paraphrase, obviously, although Ahmad didn't mince his words.

"Get rid of your own proprietary high-end solution (MeeGo) -- it's the biggest joke in the tech industry right now and will put you even further behind Apple and Google," he wrote.

Elop is due to make a big speech next Friday (11 February) in London to investors, and is expected to talk for the first time in depth about his long term plans for Nokia. Ahead of the Mobile World Congress show the following week, it would be perfect timing to announce a shift to Windows Phone 7 (or, indeed, Android) before showing off a handset or two at MWC.

What do you think? Would Nokia's hardware and Microsoft's software be a dream smart phone combination? Post your thoughts in a comment -- it's not just analysts who get to have their say about this.