Microsoft and Nokia join forces to take on BlackBerry

Nokia's Symbian S60 today became the first non-Windows Mobile platform to receive support for the Microsoft Office Mobile suite of applications and services. Microsoft and Nokia today announced their long-term partnership to collaborate on the design, development, and marketing of mobile productivity solutions.

Beginning next year, Nokia's E-series handsets will ship with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile built in, and later, other Office applications and software will be added to the Symbian platform, such as mobile versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote, as well as SharePoint Server and Microsoft System Center.

Bloggers and journalists speculated that today's conference was going to announce Windows Mobile coming to Nokia devices, which fell in sync with a simultaneous rumor of Nokia abandoning Symbian for its open source tablet OS Maemo. The latter of these rumors was quickly squashed by Nokia spokespeople responding to several bloggers, and Nokia's Executive Vice President for Devices, Kai Oistamo, addressed the former rumor by saying "there are no such plans" to make a Windows Mobile Nokia device.

In today's announcement, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop said, "We remain deeply committed to Windows Mobile...and Nokia is absolutely committed to Symbian. We both believe strongly in our respective strategies...but we both believe in choice."

The alliance is not aimed at the consumer segment, but rather at combining Microsoft's strength in enterprise mobility with Nokia's industry-leading device penetration. Stephen Drake, Vice President of Mobility & Telecom at IDC said, "By bringing Microsoft's productivity solutions to Nokia's large customer base, the two companies should be better able to serve the needs of the growing mobile worker population, which IDC estimates to reach 1 billion worldwide in 2011."

Oistamo said, "This is a formidable challenge for RIM, if for no one else."

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