NOK-MSFT pact wins few friends

Two big disappointing also-rans teaming up? That is what market reaction to Nokia’s decision to abandon its proprietary operating system for Microsoft indicates.

Until very recently, Nokia (NOK, quote) was effectively married to the Symbian operating system and was making promising progress toward turning it into a true open-source development platform to compete with Google’s (GOOG, quote) Android.

So this apparent about-face to make Microsoft’s (MSFT, quote) Windows its primary operating system instead is being greeted with a mixture of disappointment and derision.

Windows has not exactly impressed people in the mobile environment. Smartphones that run Microsoft have faltered in terms of sales compared to the success of new phones on the open Android platform, not to mention Apple’s (AAPL, quote) consistently strong iPhone and now iPad.

The burgeoning number of software developers eager to make apps for the Apple and Android Stores is a sign of those platforms’ commercial power. On the other hand, competition to get

NOK’s mapping functionality will be brought into Windows phones. Otherwise, there is as yet little sign that Symbian will remain a living operating system at all — the company says it is slashing R&D budgets, so it is doubtful — even though it remains the second-biggest smartphone platform in the world.

Burning the platform seems to be a disaster. MSFT gets its code on the huge NOK market, NOK gets the right to become a commoditized hardware vendor again.

No wonder NOK is down 10% today in Europe and MSFT is indicated higher this morning.

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