Five benefits of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership

UC, Smart phone choice, SharePoint integration, Microsoft Office Mobile, alternative to RIM Blackberry

Perhaps you've heard that Microsoft and Nokia announced a strategic partnership to develop Microsoft application tools and support for the Nokia Symbian-based mobile devices. Some analysts see this as some sort of admission by Microsoft that Windows Mobile is a failure. I don't agree that Windows Mobile is on its death bed just yet.

Regardless of how successful Windows Mobile is or isn't, it will never achieve 100 percent market share, but by forging relationships like this Nokia alliance Microsoft can ensure that companies will rely on Microsoft servers and applications no matter which mobile device platform they choose.

That explains why this is such a coup for Microsoft. For Nokia the partnership establishes a strategic advantage over competing platforms, including Windows Mobile. But, what's in it for you? Why should you care? Here are 5 reasons that the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia will benefit you:

1.     Strong alternative to RIM Blackberry. While Nokia is the leading manufacturer of smart phones, currently holding 45% market share, it has never been very successful at capturing the enterprise market. RIM Blackberry is the de facto mobile communications platform for many companies. Blackberry does what it does very well, but lacks the seamless integration with Microsoft backend servers and applications that has been available on mobile device using Windows Mobile. Providing that same level of integration on the leading smart phone platform presents a strong business case and gives you a good reason to look at the Microsoft /Nokia solution as an alternative to RIM Blackberry.

2.     Smart phone choices. Users who rely on Windows Mobile devices to deliver the connectivity and integration they want with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Unified Communications have been limited to a handful of mobile device options. Now you'll be able to choose from a wide range of quality mobile devices and still have the same seamless integration with the Exchange, Office Communications Server, Microsoft Office applications and other Microsoft backend servers and applications.

3.     Unified communications. Microsoft is a leading provider of unified communications and many organizations are implementing unified communications based on Office Communications Server 2007 (and OCS 2007 R2). Before this partnership, the ability to stay connected with a mobile device while on the go was restricted to Windows Mobile-based devices. With Office Communicator Mobile for Nokia devices, you will have much greater freedom to incorporate the unified communications experience with a broader range of mobile devices. That means that you will be able to view the Presence (or availability) status of your contacts, initiate and respond to instant messaging, place calls through the corporate VoIP network rather than using cell minutes, and more.

4.     Microsoft Office Mobile. I don't like to jump on the 'Microsoft monopoly' bandwagon, but face it- the business world revolves around the Microsoft Office suite. Even the small, heroic efforts at providing alternative word processor, spreadsheet, or other office productivity applications only succeed if, or because, the products are compatible with Microsoft Office document standards. The dominance of the Microsoft Office suite has led to the development of a variety of 3rd-party viewers and utilities for other mobile device platforms. But, there ain't nothing like the real thing baby. Now you'll be able to experience authentic Microsoft Office Mobile and work with Word and Excel files natively from the Nokia eSeries mobile devices.

5.     SharePoint integration. Compared with Microsoft Office Mobile and Office Communicator Mobile, SharePoint may not seem like a big deal. But, during the press conference announcing the partnership Nokia's Kai Öistämö stressed that this relationship is about more than just bringing Microsoft Office Mobile to the Nokia mobile devices. Microsoft SharePoint is implemented in some way in virtually every organization small and large. It is easy to deploy, easy to use, and provides users a way to share files and collaborate on projects. Providing the ability to interact with SharePoint from Nokia mobile devices will help users stay connected and allow them to work more efficiently no matter where they go.

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