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Rumor: Nokia spending $127M marketing Windows Phone

Microsoft hasn't always been the strongest self-promoter. If this rumor is true, Nokia's spending could ultimately help sell more Windows Phones.

CNET's concept of the 'Sea Ray' Nokia-made Windows Phone
Product marketing starts at home. Josh Long/CNET

It's said you have to spend money to make money. If this latest rumor is true, Nokia will be betting on a $127 million dollar marketing budget to help sell Nokia-made Windows Phones, according to Marketing Magazine.

The Finnish device manufacturer's six-month campaign set to launch in October would rebrand the company as primarily a maker of Windows, rather than Symbian and MeeGo, phones, according to the report. The timing would also coincide with the release of Nokia's first device for Microsoft's OS--likely this fall, and likely the handset known as Sea Ray.

Although it's common for cell phone makers to pay for ads, in the carrier-centric U.S. it's the operator who foots a large portion of the advertising bill. It will be interesting to see how much of Nokia's global budget extends to North America, or if Nokia will concentrate funds in its strongest markets.

Locally and globally, Microsoft needs any lift it can get from Nokia's marketing efforts. Addressing partners yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that Windows Phone 7 has not gained significant market share.

"We've gone from very small to very small," Ballmer joked.

From the very beginning, Microsoft could have done a better job peddling its product to smartphone-thirsty consumers, a weakness we addressed just after Windows Phone 7 launched and also a few weeks ago, after CNET evaluated Microsoft's major version update, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop has been extremely vocal in his support for Windows Phone 7, and for his own company's aspirations to popularize the platform among Nokia's global user base. Since Nokia first threw its support behind Windows Phone, its need for Microsoft to succeed against iOS and Android is almost as great as Microsoft's.

While the mobile world has a pretty good idea what the first Nokia-made Windows Phone will be, there's still a question about how subsequent handsets will shape up, and, naturally, how many people will buy them. Nokia dollars behind Microsoft's mobile platform may not be enough on their own to turn the buying tide, but if Microsoft is lucky, the increased brand recognition alone could elevate Windows Phone sales numbers from "very small" to "small."