Nokia and Microsoft’s proclaimed union yesterday garnered a mixed reception from many around the industry. Prevailing sentiment seems to be that it can’t hurt. The partnership will expand Microsoft’s reach and help Nokia better compete in the enterprise space.
Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis, was generally positive about the partnership. “It’s one of those things where it should be a win-win for both companies,” Greengart said, emphasizing that success will depend on execution.
While the contact, calendar and e-mail functions of Microsoft Office may be a boon for Nokia users, it remains to be seen how applications such as Word and Excel translate from a PC to a 4-inch mobile screen with a miniscule keyboard.
However, Greengart says that Office on a Nokia device is a plus even in a limited capacity. “If you get a Word attachment on a Nokia device, you can edit three words and then send it back as approved. You get a Word attachment on an iPhone and you can’t do that.”
While Greengart likes what he sees in the partnership, he doesn’t think it changes where the two companies are already positioned in the mobile space. “The limitation is that both Nokia and Microsoft are badly behind Apple and RIM on the consumer experience side of things.”
When asked whether he thought this had anything to do with Nokia’s recent partnership with Intel to develop a line of MIDs, Greengart was skeptical. “You don’t hook up with Microsoft for a future product that hasn’t been developed yet, much less proven, especially not when you’re already selling tens of millions of mobile devices already which need better productivity oriented software.”
Greengart seems to think that while Nokia has the hardware to compete in the enterprise space, it truly is lacking in a viable software solution. He notes that the OEM’s high-end E- and N-series phones are not living up to their potential. “Nokia has sold 5 million E71s, and a lot of those sales have been to European consumers who want a qwerty messaging phone. And Nokia doesn’t sell any other qwerty phones outside of some of their high-end models. Nokia’s not getting the kind of penetration they’d like in the enterprise space.”