Microsoft-Nokia alliance will have to get the bugs out

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BARCELONA — With so much uncertainty surrounding Nokia’s smartphone alliance with Microsoft — like when their first phones will be ready — one thing is becoming clear: Both companies will have to make some difficult changes, a top Microsoft executive said.

The companies are still working to flesh out the details of the agreement they announced last Friday in which Nokia would use Microsoft software in its phones, said Aaron Woodman, the director of mobile communications at Microsoft.

But among the most basic questions they face include where to build the factory that will make the new phones, which chips to use inside them and how to adapt software and hardware that incorporates the companies’ technologies.

“This is not a matter of spending a long weekend and matching our software to their handsets,” Mr. Woodman, who has been with Microsoft for 13 years, said during an interview at the Mobile World Congress, the industry’s largest convention being held here this week. In the auto business, he noted, it takes six years to get a car from conception to showroom floor.

The software business moves much faster, Mr. Woodman said, but declined to shed light on when Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker, would start selling the first phones bearing Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system.

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