Yahoo! Punts, Seeks Nokia Partnership

Two leaning towers of tech titandoom -- Yahoo! and Nokia -- get set to put their weight behind a mobile partnership.
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SUNNYVALE, Calif. (

TheStreet

) --

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

has invited the press to a briefing by CEO Carol Bartz in New York on Monday, presumably to introduce a partnership with

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

.

The combination will take the form of Yahoo! content, email and search on some Nokia phones, according to

BoomTown blogger

Kara Swisher.

The invitation to this landmark event (above) promises it will ring in a "new era in keeping consumers connected." Not to dim any of the bright lights on this showcase -- but really? "New era" from a partnership between Nokia and Yahoo!?

You can almost hear observers like

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

chief Steve Jobs saying, 'good companies sell products, bad companies form partnerships.'

And really, it's hard to think of two companies that have lost more than Yahoo! and Nokia during the recent rise of mobile Internet.

Nokia's lead in the smartphone market has been

eroding at an alarming pace

for two years as phones from Apple,

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

and

Google's

(GOOG) - Get Report

Android effort have caught on with consumers.

And Yahoo! has been nearly nonexistent on mobile phones as Google search and Google maps have taken on an almost default status. Arguably, the only other player that may have come close to Yahoo's whiff on wireless is

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

. And we know what those two have in common -- a partnership in search called Bing.

Bartz and Yahoo! don't have many more opportunities to reinvent the company for mobile. And Nokia, already three years late, has yet to answer the touchscreen call in a way that speaks to consumers.

Hopes are genuinely high.

No one, after all, wants to watch mobile choices narrow to Apple or Google. But still, the idea of Nokia and Yahoo! pairing conjures up something that

Kodak

and Polaroid may have thought about as the camera market started slipping through their hands a few decades ago.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.