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Nokia to include Windows Live services

Though a Microsoft rival, the handset giant will offer mobile Web services from the software maker, including Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail.

Setting aside its handset rivalry with Nokia, Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has inked a pact to put mobile versions of its Windows Live services onto handsets made by one of its chief competitors.

Under the deal, Nokia will start offering Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger on its most powerful Series 60 handsets this year. Later in the year or early next year, the services will be made available on Series 40 phones. The services will initially be free, though the two companies may later charge for them, splitting the revenue.

"We look at where the market is," said Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of Microsoft's online services business. "Nokia is the largest handset maker."

It's not the first sign of detente between the two companies. Nokia has for some time licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync technology for connecting to an Exchange e-mail server. Earlier this month, Nokia also said it had licensed Microsoft's PlayReady mobile digital rights management technology. The handset maker also includes Microsoft's Live Search in its mobile search service.

Berkowitz said Microsoft will continue to develop versions of Windows Live services for its own Windows Mobile operating systems as well as slimmed-down WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) versions that can run on a wide array of phones.

As for whether it would develop any sites tailored for Apple's iPhone, Berkowitz quipped, "If the iPhone were ever to get any distribution, maybe."

He added that the company will go where the marketplace and its customers demand. "Our best place to invest is where the reach is," he said. "Nokia is a great example of that."

The latest deal has been in the works for more than a year, the companies said.

"It's taken a bit of time and a bit of learning on both sides," said Nigel Rundström, Nokia's vice president of multimedia experiences.