Microsoft, Nokia team up for enterprise endeavor
Microsoft and Nokia today held a conference call to signal a joining of forces that will include a mobile version of Microsoft's Office on Nokia smartphones. However, executives from both companies stressed that the partnership is really about tackling the enterprise space at large.
"While today is important for both companies ... we're only starting to scratch the surface," said Kai Oistamo, executive vice president of devices for Nokia. "This is much more than putting Microsoft software on Nokia smartphones. We are here to address the significant opportunity represented by the enterprise space."
Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, also stressed the breadth of the partnership. "This is a much broader partnership than just Office."
When asked if this was an effort to compete with Apple, Oistamo was direct: "It is way beyond just e-mail. Way beyond just Office. If any company should be worried about this, this is really about creating a formidable competitor for RIM."
With broad strokes, Elop sketched plans for an Office-based mobile communicator that sounded similar to some of the features of Google Voice.
Nokia phones will work with Microsoft's Unified Communications system, which brings together Internet-based phones, instant messaging, e-mail and online conferencing for a company's employees.
When asked for a timeline for the products, Oistamo noted that MS Exchange and Calendar are available now on the Nokia E-Series, but said that the first Office Mobile Communicator will be available on the E-Series next year, expanding reach to include more of the Nokia portfolio.
Both Elop and Oistamo said that their companies are committed to their respective platforms, Windows Mobile and Symbian, and would continue to compete against one another in the future.
But people will be able to read, edit and create new Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote programs on Nokia smartphones.