Mobile applications are the way forward

Microsoft and Nokia are teaming up to create an application called Microsoft Office Mobile on Nokia handsets it was announced last month. The deal will give Microsoft leverage against Google and others that are attacking its Office business with free or low-priced, Web-based productivity applications.

The companies are going to design, develop and market productivity applications for mobile professionals. They are going to work on an application called Microsoft Office Mobile and install it on Nokia’s Symbian devices. They will also do the same for other Microsoft communications, collaboration and device-management software. Even though Microsoft already had its own Windows Mobile platform they have realised that they have never really established itself in the mobile market while Nokia’s Symbian handsets is market share leader for midrange handsets.

With the launch of google docs, this venture is sure to create a cause for concern in the google offices. Google claims 1.75 million businesses use Google Apps, which is a small number compared with the amount of businesses and customers at hom using Office. According to Forrester who undertook a survey of 152 IT decision-makers, nearly 92% per cent support Office, while only a little more than 3% use Google Apps. This year, Office is forecast to generate about $20bn (£12.2bn) in revenue.

The new Microsoft app will first be available on Nokia’s Eseries phones, which are optimised for the business market and then will be extended to other Nokia handsets marketed jointly by both companies.

This alliance shows that sometimes competitors have to work together to beat the bigger rivals. By installing the Office applications on Nokia handsets, Microsoft and Nokia will be competing against Apple and Research in Motion (RIM). The iPhone as we already know has radically changed the smartphone market and the RIM Blackberry OS is very popular for business users. However, both companies will still be competitors in the mobile market. Microsoft already offers Office Mobile on Windows Mobile handsets and plans to put a new version of the application on mobile phones next year.

The first application to appear on Nokia phones will be Microsoft Office Communicator which will appear in 2010. The Communicator is the company’s instant messaging and Web presence client for business users.

Microsoft has also been working on its own apps what it calls “Office Web Apps” which includes Web-based version of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote and will be availble on PCs when they release the next version of Office 2010. The apps will work on Safari and Firefox browsers on the Mac.

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