What was last week’s announcement?
Nokia and Microsoft have formed a partnership that will see Microsoft Office desktop software – such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and Microsoft’s business software, available on Nokia’s Symbian OS devices. It is the first time Microsoft has made its Office productivity software available on another mobile platform.
What is the significance of this announcement?
Nokia and Microsoft have traditionally been fierce rivals, but their alliance has been forced by the stranglehold that RIM has gained on the business market. To make matters worse for Nokia and Microsoft, Apple’s iPhone range is also becoming increasingly popular with business users. Deutsche Bank analysts claimed last month that RIM and Apple are currently taking 58% of all profits in the smartphone sector from only a 5% market share. Nokia and Microsoft is seeing the business market slip away from them, and they are acting to avoid falling further behind.
What’s in it for both companies?
Nokia has previously spelt out its willingness to take a collaborative approach, and this partnership is in line with that strategy. Nokia hopes Microsoft’s Office Mobile, which synchronises easily with desktop PC systems, will boost the appeal of Nokia phones. Microsoft also has a large appeal with North American users, where Nokia is struggling. The benefits for Microsoft are obvious. It has struggled to bring solutions to the mobile space and Windows Mobile has never taken off as hoped. Microsoft needs to start delivering to a broader range of platforms, especially with rival Google starting to gain traction on the market with its Android operating system.
When will we see the results of the partnership?
First availability will be on Nokia’s Eseries business range of handsets from 2010, and after that it will be extended to Nokia’s more mid-range ‘Symbian portfolio’.
What’s next for the partnership?
Nokia has already announced it will release a netbook computer, which is expected at the beginning of next year. It now looks very likely that the companies will work together on this product, with Microsoft software being made available on Nokia’s new netbooks.