Microsoft urges developers to stick with Nokia

Microsoft's Matt Bencke, general manager of Windows Phone, has urged Symbian developers not to give up on Nokia as a result of the companies' new partnership.

While the news that Microsoft and Nokia would team up to produce Windows Phone handsets caused ructions in the business and development communities, Bencke believes that - in the short term - nothing should change.

Speaking to the Nokia development community, Bencke claimed that Microsoft and Nokia are together for the long run - suggesting that developers would do well to continue to support Nokia's Symbian platform.

"If you're a Nokia developer today, I have a couple of messages for you," Bencke said in a recently pubished video message. "I encourage you to keep on developing for Nokia. It really is a long-term partnership, and Nokia today has more than 75 million Symbian devices out there.

"I expect to see at least another 150 million Symbian phones shipped in the months and years to come, and that's a big addressable market and it's a great platform," Bencke said - suggesting that Nokia's move to Windows Phone as its primary platform is going to be a gradual process.

"The other thing I would encourage you to do as a Nokia developer is, with time, to get to know Windows Phone and get to know the great toolchain we have with Visual Studio, with Expression, with XNA and Silveright," Bencke unsurprisingly continues - proving, if there were ever any doubt, that Symbian will be phased out as Nokia and Microsoft's partnership continues.

"Here and now, keep doing what you're doing - and at the same time, learn more about where we're going together, because it's only going to get bigger and better," Bencke concludes.

Bencke's support for Symbian - in the short term, at least - comes as Nokia confirms it will be launching a MeeGo handset, the N950, later this year. Designed as a successor to the Maemo-based N900, the N950 would once have been Nokia's flagship smartphone - but with the Windows Phone deal looming large on the horizon, the company is unlikely to find many takers for a device based on a platform it is no longer focusing on.

The full three-minute video is embedded below, for your delight and edification.