Nokia eyeing Windows Phone 7 as third OS strategy?

With both Nokia fans and analysts crying out for the Finnish company to ditch Symbian, we've usually heard Android put forward as the obvious choice for its replacement.  However, according to VentureBeat's "trusted source", we should actually be looking to Microsoft instead.  They've heard that Nokia is "likely to use Windows Phone 7 as an additional platform," along with that the company's board has given new CEO Stephen Elop broad-ranging powers to change previously set-in-stone OS decisions.

VentureBeat also suggests that new Nokia CTO Rich Green is currently working on due-diligence to assess the potential for the company's software assets to merge with Microsoft's, though they also say that merger talks themselves are yet to take place.  Meanwhile an announcement in less than two weeks time is predicted, where AT&T will supposedly confirm it will be offering the Nokia N8.

Frankly this still doesn't ring quite true, with Nokia's previous arguments against Android – that it would be putting control of their handsets' OS into the hands of someone else – also making sense for Windows Phone 7.  Still, if WP7 was indeed a separate branch of Nokia's hardware efforts, not replacing either Symbian or MeeGo, then it could potential provide a bridging solution between now and the arrival of Symbian^4 handsets onto the market.

Update: Nokia has been in touch to reiterate that their platform strategy hasn't changed.  "Our platforms are Series 40, Symbian and MeeGo" the company told us; "that stance was reinforced strongly by our management during Nokia World, and we currently have no plans to use other operating systems."