Dan Leahul
Aug 14, 2009

Microsoft and Nokia to develop BlackBerry-killer

GLOBAL - Microsoft is to partner with Nokia to bring its Office software to a line of Symbian smartphones, aimed at gaining a foothold in the mobile business market currently dominated by Research in Motion - manufacturer of the BlackBerry.

Microsoft and Nokia to develop BlackBerry-killer
The two companies once fierce rivals in the telecommunications business, expect to launch a range of smartphones by next year, which will include Microsoft's Word, Excel and PowerPoint programmes.

Nokia executive Robert Andersson (pictured) said the move marks a direct strike at the BlackBerry. He told the Times: “This is giving some of our competitors - let's spell it out, RIM - a run for their money. I don't think BlackBerry has seen the kind of competition we can provide them now.”
Nokia is the largest provider of smartphones in the world, with a share of around 45 per cent of the market, or roughly 200 million users.

However, it has steadily lost ground to competitors, such as the BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone due to its Symbian operating system - seen as old stock compared to innovation like Google's Android.

The company said it has no plans to ditch its Symbian platform any time soon.

For Microsoft, the deal means its mobile Office will be opened up to a huge new audience. Previously, only users with Windows Mobile were able to use its suite of business software.

The two companies said the deal would not affect the future of Windows Mobile or the Symbian operating system. Executives said that Nokia had no plans to make a Windows Mobile device.

Nokia said it plans on further collaborating with Microsoft beyond the scope of its Office software, although the length of the agreement remains unknown.

Last month, Microsoft announced that its newest version of Office would be 'cloud' compatible, meaning users will be able to access and store their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents online, instead of a single hard drive.

Other smartphone owners, including the likes of the iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android-based phones should be able to access the new version of Office through their mobile browsers once it is launched, expected by year-end.

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