Microsoft, Nokia Announce Alliance, Office Apps on Smartphones
Microsoft and Nokia have announced a partnership that will see Microsoft Office applications ported
onto Nokia smartphones, starting with the Nokia Eseries, which are primarily
marketed towards business users.
The Microsoft and Nokia executives announcing the deal took
pains to emphasize that the new partnership will in no way blunt the companies'
competition over their respective mobile operating systems, Windows Mobile and
According to Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft Business
Division, the agreement marks the first time that Microsoft "will develop rich
mobile office applications for another smartphone platform." He added that the
collaboration would "expand into other areas over time."
Even though Nokia will assist in pushing this mobile version
of Office to roughly 200 million smartphone owners, competition between the two
companies will apparently still continue in other areas.
"We remain deeply committed to Windows Mobile," Elop said.
Referencing the Nokia executive presenting alongside him, Kai ???ist???m??Ã©,
he added: "I know when I talk to Kai, they are equally devoted to
"The world's leading smartphone operating system," ???ist???m??Ã©, executive vice president for Nokia Devices, said in response.
Elop categorized the agreement as "a long-term relationship for enterprise-grade solutions for mobile productivity." In addition to a mobile version of Office, Microsoft and Nokia will also offer management and collaboration software such as Microsoft SharePoint. Although both executives largely avoided discussing the new alliance's competition in the mobile device area, the intention to integrate Microsoft onto Nokia products beyond the business-oriented Eseries suggests that both Apple and Research In Motion are in the cross-hairs.
Microsoft has been concentrating on moving Office and its
other productivity applications from its traditional desktop home. Earlier
this summer, the company announced that Microsoft Office 2010, the newest
version of the application suite, would be launched as a free online service for
subscribers of Microsoft Live. The cloud-based versions of Word, Excel, OneNote
and PowerPoint will not replicate the full functionality of the version being
sold for desktop use, however.
The announcement also comes at a time when Microsoft is
gearing up to enter the mobile space with Windows Mobile 6.5, which includes
improved touch capabilities and widgets specifically designed to challenge
competition from Apple's iPhone and the Palm Pre.
Microsoft has already opened its Windows Marketplace for
Mobile to developers, hoping to seed its applications store with enough programs
to at least make a reasonable showing when the new mobile operating system rolls
out sometime in the fall.
Microsoft is hoping to have 600 applications available for Marketplace for Mobile by that point, and apparently plans a business-only section of the store in a deliberate attempt to appeal to that segment of the market. This new announcement with Nokia is obviously another part of that plan.