Microsoft and Nokia Partner Up on Mobile Office Apps

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Research in Motion‘s Blackberry devices have proven so popular among enterprise and government users that the term "crackberry" has long since entered the popular lexicon…and that development has never sat very well with the likes of the world’s top phone maker Nokia and Microsoft, both of whom would like a larger slice of the corporate mobile business. Although Nokia doesn’t make devices that run Windows Mobile, the companies have collaborated previously on bringing Microsoft mobile media, Silverlight, and Exchange support to Nokia devices. Now the companies are expanding their partnership, announcing a broad new alliance designed to bring Microsoft Office and mobile business productivity solutions to Nokia mobile devices.

One of the primary goals of the partnership is to put mobile versions of Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a selection of business-centric Nokia mobile devices. The companies plan to start with bringing Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile to Nokia smartphones in 2010, with the Mobile Office suit to follow after that.

"If you are going to provide a seamless and integrated productivity experience on a mobile device, Microsoft is an ideal partner," said Nokia’s executive VP for devices Kai Öistämö, in a statement. "Together with Microsoft, we will develop new and innovative user experiences for employees of small and large businesses alike, ensuring Nokia’s smartphones are an integral part of the office and home-office environment, and addressing the significant opportunity in mobile enterprise productivity."

The move not only ratchets up Microsoft and Nokia’s efforts to compete with RIM, but should also help them compete with mobile offerings from Google, especially mobile productivity applications designed for its Android operating system.

One interesting aspect of the Microsoft-Nokia announcement is that it doesn’t specify what operating systems the companies are targeting with their efforts. Nokia has famously backed Symbian 60 on its devices, but some sources have the company getting ready to leave Symbian behind and move its high-end devices to Maemo, the operating system Nokia originally developed for its Internet Tablet mobile computers.

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