Ronnie05's Blog

Review:The Nokia Microsoft alliance

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on September 2, 2009

Nokia Microsoft

On August12th, 2009 Microsoft and Nokia announced that, they will be working together to bring native versions of Microsoft office to Nokia Smartphone. This is a huge departure from the situation 2/3 years earlier, when the Espoo based mobile device giant and the Redmond based big daddy of software and services could not seem to find a common ground of association. A lot since then has changed. Even while Nokia and Microsoft still rule supreme in their respective domains, their supremacies have been challenged bitterly. Nokia was caught napping on the Smartphones, User interfaces and Applications. Microsoft similarly was only too happy shipping incremental development versions of their OSs and browsers. Two radical competitors changed all of that for Microsoft and Nokia. Google and Apple changed the rules of the game for good. It was becoming way to boring out there. Then there were others who joined the party! While Nokia lost its way around in the smartphone markets to RIM and the iconic iPhone, Microsoft also started feeling the pinch as most of its bed fellows (Read HTC) jumped ship to the Android army.

The joining of hands was thus obvious and expected! Microsoft would get volumes and scale from Nokia’s sizeable smartphone portfolio, where as Nokia would engage the Microsoft Office suite. Nokia seems to have made a good start on the Maemo platform with N900, its first Symbian-less smartphone/mobile computing device. More than the platform shift, its signals a willingness from Nokia to accept a eco-system product rather than just sticking to its proprietary offerings.

But this is about more than just creating a version of Office for Nokia — the companies say they are working together on the “design, development and marketing of productivity solutions for the mobile professional.” Already rumors are afoot that Nokia will feature Windows based Applications in the Ovi suite. Besides, the Nokia netbook, Booklet 3G is also rumored to run on Windows 7 version (Though Windows 7 is not the best featured OS for netbooks in general).      

Microsoft has also claimed to have developed rich mobile applications for platform other than its Windows Mobile operating system. Over time, the companies plan to release applications for Nokia phones (using the Symbian operating system) that include:

  • The ability to view, edit, create and share Office documents on more devices in more places with mobile-optimized versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OneNote
  • Enterprise instant messaging and presence, and optimized conferencing and collaboration experience with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile
  • Mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Enterprise device management with Microsoft System Center

The move would make sense for Microsoft as a way to get MS Office onto more smartphones. Nokia and Microsoft are pitching this as a unique alliance, and a way for them to compete with other mobile platforms. Of course, Nokia is the easiest target for Microsoft. Edging on to the popular smartphone platforms managed by Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone) will prove a lot tougher, given the tensions between Microsoft and these two companies. But even then, don’t count out such a move.

This partnership would create a formidable challenge for RIM, more than anyone else. Nokia’s E Series phones with the MS Office would be very potent as business devices!

The partnership is a desperate effort by Nokia and Microsoft to multiply strengths, scale and capabilities. It would be interesting to see the results accruing out of this.Watch this space

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