Microsoft To Close Nokia Store And Replace It With Opera

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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The Nokia Store will close next year but Opera Mobile Store will continue to provide apps for Nokia feature phones and the Nokia X

Microsoft is continuing to phase out the Nokia brand from its mobile unit and will close the Nokia Store, which offers apps for Nokia feature phones and Nokia X smartphones, next year, replacing it with the Opera Mobile Store.

Starting in early 2015, Opera will become the default app store on Nokia Asha, S40, S60, Symbian and Nokia X devices, with the Nokia Store set to be shut down completely by the second half of the year.

Opera is already the default browser on Nokia-branded devices and Microsoft says it is indicative of its ongoing support for these “classic” devices as owners will continue to have access to a wide library of applications.

RIP Nokia Store

Nokia Opera Store“We continue to sell and support classic Nokia devices, which remain popular in many parts of the world,” says Rich Bernardo, vice president of phones at Microsoft. “We’re delighted to partner with Opera Software and continue to provide a reliable app store experience for consumers and developers alike.”

The Opera Store has 300,000 applications and is used by 40,000 developers to distribute their software. The marketplace currently supports 7,500 devices and the new partnership with Microsoft will result in the Opera Mobile Store becoming the third largest mobile app store in terms of downloads.

“When the current users of the Nokia Store are migrated to Opera Mobile Store, they will continue to get fresh, interesting apps for their Nokia phones,” claims Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “The Opera Mobile Store becomes an even more significant player in the app store market, and Nokia mobile phone users get a first-class app store for years to come.”

Microsoft acquired Nokia’s devices business for £4.6 billion last year and will no longer use the Nokia brand for its smartphone range. The first ‘Non-Nokia’ Lumia was revealed earlier this month in the form of the Lumia 535.

After the acquisition, Nokia was left with its networking, mapping and advanced technologies unit, but the Finnish firm has just announced a new tablet, the Android-powered N1. The streamlined firm also plans to licence the Nokia name to third parties, but the name cannot be used for feature phones for another ten years, but could grace smartphones from 2016.

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