Nokia teams with Sprint, Reuters on worldwide mobile ad network

Nokia's new mobile ad network will be run in partnership with Sprint and some 70 major Web-based content providers worldwide. Meanwhile, Nokia is reportedly talking about a Windows Mobile deal with Microsoft.

In one of its many unveilings at 3GSM in Barcelona this morning, Nokia -- a mobile device maker reportedly talking with Microsoft about a possible deal -- today announced a new mobile ad network that will be run in partnership with wireless operator Sprint, major publishers Reuters and Hearst, and more than 70 other Web content providers worldwide.

Microsoft and Nokia spokespersons were initially unavailable to confirm or deny reports about any talks between the two companies around the prospect of Nokia devices running Windows Mobile.

In recent weeks, Microsoft has reportedly tried to convince Nokia to join the foray of producers of wireless devices running WM6. Nokia is not a member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), an industry organization launched last fall in support of Google's Android.

Finnish-based Nokia, a long-time supporter of the Symbian operating environmment traditionally popular in Europe, also started to produce some Linux-based mobile devices several years ago.

Nokia's move today could come as a major boon to Sprint, its wireless carrier partner in the effort, and a company that could use a shot in the arm right now.

While US carrier rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been gaining subscribers, Sprint has been losing users in droves. Industry analysts have blamed the drain largely on the strains of Sprint's trying to run three separate wireless networks simultaneously: the traditional Sprint network, a 4G broadband WiMAX network, and Sprint's acquired Nextel property.

In restructuring moves announced last month, Sprint reshuffled top executives and also laid off about 4,000 employees.

Also at the mobile and wireless show in Spain, Microsoft announced some mobile ad deals of its own, involving wireless operator Orange in Spain and French-based publishers Autonews, L'Equipe, and Boursier.com.

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