Software giant Microsoft, and mobile phone market leader Nokia have today announced an alliance – effective immediately. From the sounds of it Microsoft gains entry to whole lot more mobile devices, and Nokia gets to be a whole lot more business-friendly through making the most of the ubiquitous Office suite of applications.

There’s no indication that Microsoft’s upcoming new mobile phone operating system Windows Mobile 6.5 will force a change on Nokia’s Symbian operating system, and vice versa. This looks on the surface to be a united effort to take on BlackBerry’s hold on the corporate world.

The press release

Nokia and Microsoft had this to say today:

The worldwide leader in software and the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer have entered into an alliance that is set to deliver a groundbreaking, enterprise-grade solution for mobile productivity. Today, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop and Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Devices Kai Oistamo announced the agreement, outlining a shared vision for the future of mobile productivity. This is the first time that either company has embarked on an alliance of this scope and nature.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will begin collaborating immediately on the design, development and marketing of productivity solutions for the mobile professional, bringing Microsoft Office Mobile and Microsoft business communications, collaboration and device management software to Nokia’s Symbian devices. These solutions will be available for a broad range of Nokia smartphones starting with the company’s business-optimised range, Nokia Eseries.

The two companies will also market these solutions to businesses, carriers and individuals.

Both Microsoft Corp. and Nokia possess a rare combination of enterprise experience and consumer understanding and, in addition to the collaboration on existing software and services, will use these assets to jointly design a range of new user experiences for future Nokia devices. These experiences will be identified together, and will be created by dedicated teams inside both companies to better meet the growing needs of the mobile professional.

“With more than 200 million smartphone customers globally, Nokia is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and a natural partner for us,”said Elop.

“Today’s announcement will enable us to expand Microsoft Office Mobile to Nokia smartphone owners worldwide and allow them to collaborate on Office documents from anywhere, as part of our strategy to provide the best productivity experience across the PC, phone and browser.”

“If you are going to provide a seamless and integrated productivity experience on a mobile device, Microsoft is an ideal partner,” said Oistamo. “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.”

This announcement builds on the existing work Nokia is doing by optimising access to email and other personal information with Exchange ActiveSync. Next year, Nokia intends to start shipping Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile on its smartphones, followed by other Office applications and related software and services in the future. These will include:

  • The ability to view, edit, create and share Office documents on more devices in more places with mobile-optimised versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OneNote
  • Enterprise instant messaging and presence, and optimized conferencing and collaboration experience with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile
  • Mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Enterprise device management with Microsoft System Center