This collaboration has been rumoured for years, but back in December, there was a rumour of a more substantial Nokia/Microsoft tie-in. According to the New York Times, that alliance is imminent, with an annoucement possibly coming this week.The original story came from Eldar Murtazin, a Russian journalist with Nokia connections. He claimed Nokia has been in talks with Microsoft with regards to releasing a Windows Phone 7 handset, essentially with Microsoft providing the operating system (Windows Phone 7) and Nokia creating the phones, which would feature 'the characteristic features' of its product line.The New York Times says that Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank in Hamburg has urged the Nokia chief executive — and former Microsoft executive — Stephen Elop, to form an alliance that would put Microsoft’s Phone operating system on Nokia’s advanced smartphones. Mr. Ahmad's letter to Mr. Elop, which was published in The Financial Times, advised Nokia to abandon its Symbian operating system for Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. With Symbian, Nokia’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 31 per cent in the fourth quarter from 40 per cent a year earlier, and its profit declined 21 per cent.The paper says that the companies have declined to comment on the speculation, but analysts who follow the companies said Mr. Elop may be preparing to announce such an alliance on February 11th during a speech in London to investors. Speculation has been fueled by Nokia being 'uncharacteristically tight-lipped' ahead of the London event, indicating that the company 'may have something major that could potentially affect the market to announce'.However, not everyone is so excited about the possible move: 'There is no guarantee this is going to be a successful alignment,' Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst in London, said. 'Windows Phone 7 has been disappointing and Microsoft is not sexy to the consumer from a mobile phone perspective.' Check back later this week to find out if it is speculation or whether the alliance is something both real and of huge significance for the mobile market worldwide.