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Nokia Ace to launch from $100m mountain of ad cash

Microsoft and co bet big on new WinPhone

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Microsoft and its partners will start spending money like water in the next three months, following the launch of the Nokia Ace, according to sources cited by Betanews.

The site says $100m in cash will be spent by AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia to push the Windows Phone handset into American hands in the second quarter of 2012. That might seem like a lot, but it's a fraction of the billion-dollar budget Nokia negotiated with Redmond as part of the deal to adopt Windows Phone. Nokia's money is to be spent over the next five years, so expect to see and hear the Windows Phone branding just about everywhere, and for a long while too.

Not much is known about the Nokia Ace, though it is expected to be launched around March. That would be perfect for announcing at Mobile World Congress, which this year won't provide the ideal excuse for lonely telecoms executives to avoid Valentine's Day as it has shifted to the end of Feb.

According to the latest rumours, the Ace will have a 4.3-inch screen, pushing it into the oversized end of the smartphone market, but otherwise be much like the Lumia 900. But, more importantly, Betanews reckons it will get carrier backing as a flagship device, and that AT&T will be taking some of those marketing dollars to push the handset in its stores.

This profligate ad spend is in stark contrast to Apple, which used carrier-exclusivity to get operators to pay the marketing costs for the iPhone. In exchange for regional-exclusives, Apple got to control every aspect of operators' advertising, but didn’t have to pay for it.

Sadly for Redmond, times have changed, and Microsoft plans to achieve the same thing by spending pots and pots of money. Fortunately Microsoft has pots and pots of money, and now we know when it will start spending it. The only remaining questions are how it will be spent, and, crucially, if the marketing push will work. ®

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