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Finland’s Aalto University will soon become even more of an app hub, thanks to the upcoming AppCampus program, a joint initiative between Microsoft (which desperately wants to be loved by the Finns) and Nokia.

The two companies will invest up to 9 million euros each (or nearly $24 million total) to launch the program, which will encourage budding developers to create apps for Windows Phone, Symbian, and Series 40.

Here’s what the program will offer, according to a joint statement released today: “Within the AppCampus program, mobile entrepreneurs can benefit from comprehensive support, training in mobile technology design and usability, and funding to create innovative new mobile apps and services. Windows Phone Marketplace and Nokia Store offer local and global business opportunities to program participants via distribution to consumers around the world.”

Both companies desperately need apps on their platforms — Microsoft moreso, since Windows Phone is still young and needs promising software to stay alive. The company recently announced that it had reached 70,000 Windows Phone apps, a paltry number compared to the 550,000 iOS apps and over 400,000 Android apps available.

“AppCampus offers an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice and create world-class mobile products,” Klaus Holse, Microsoft’s Western Europe president, said in a statement today. “We want to turn a new leaf in the mobile industry and foster Finland’s role as a center of excellence for mobile technology. Such investment into early-stage concepts has rarely been seen in this sector, and this demonstrates how highly both Nokia and Microsoft value Finnish mobile expertise.”

The investment is relatively paltry for the Redmond software giant and will likely serve more to warm up Nokia’s home country of Finland to Microsoft’s partnership with the company than to create the next hot new app startup.


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