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Shortly after urging his employees to jump from the burning platform they're standing on into the frigid waters of the North Sea (well, something like that, but more inspirational), Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has announced that the Finnish company's smartphones will henceforth run on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 software rather than on Nokia's own mobile operating system. The move is part of a broader strategic alliance between the world's biggest cellphone maker and computer software maker as as smartphones begin to outsell PCs and as both companies seek to make up the ground they've ceded to Google and Apple in the smartphone market.

News of this shift, with Nokia and Microsoft teaming up, sent Nokia's shares falling, but it's also spawned a war of words--or, more accurately, metaphors--between Google and Nokia, with others joining the fray.

It all began with Google executive Vic Gundotra, who, ahead of the announcement, suggested the Nokia-Microsoft partnership was doomed to fail:

#feb11 "Two turkeys do not make an Eagle".less than a minute ago via web

Engadget quickly reported that Gundotra may have been making an obscure reference to cellphone maker trash-talking of yore. Former Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki apparently used the same turkey/eagle analogy in 2005 in reference to BenQ buying Siemens's struggling mobile handset business.

Nokia's Elop, who previously worked at Microsoft, soon responded by comparing Nokia and Microsoft to the Wright Brothers:

@cheureux Or this: Two bicycle makers, from Dayton Ohio, one day decided to fly. #NokMsft #feb11less than a minute ago via web

Siraj Hassan then played off the "burning platform" phrase Elop used in a memo to staff to describe Nokia's dire straits:

Finally Nokia Jumps off the Burning platform into drowning Titanic #elopcalypse #feb11 #Nokasoftless than a minute ago via Digsby

The BBC's Robert Peston may win, though. Upon hearing Nokia claim that by joining Microsoft it was now competing with Google and Apple in a "three-horse race," Preston observed:

There is something rather awe-inspiring about the idea of two great beasts from different species trying to work together and have babies. If they succeed in procreating, and that's by no means certain, will the hybrid progeny be a stallion or some kind of hobbled, galumphing nag?

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