It wasn't quite the big news we were all hoping for...
Microsoft and Nokia held a joint conference yesterday to co-develop exciting smartphones, unveil Nokia's first netbook, announce a version of Microsoft Office for Symbian.
Described in the fanciful terms as "a groundbreaking, enterprise-grade solution for mobile productivity", what we will actually see are Nokia E Series handsets ship with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile and add the ability to view, edit, create and share Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote documents. There will also be mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint server.
This is nice and all, but it's hardly groundbreaking. The likes of Documents to Go, OfficeSuite 5, Quickoffice, Zoho, Google Docs and more provide a large proportion of this functionality now and for free. By contrast, Microsoft's official Nokia support won't come until some point in 2010.
Yes, it seems a strange move to us as well since the deal gives users less incentive to buy a Windows Mobile smartphone (if any more were needed?), but it does at least tie together the largest handset maker in the world with the most ubiquitous productivity software in the world. Everyone move along. Nothing more to see...
In related and mildly amusing news A temporary injunction has been placed on Microsoft selling Word in the US after a patent dispute broke out over the way it handles XML files. Canadian software company i4i (appropriate) won the injunction, but Microsoft will appeal the decision and keep on selling Word for now.
Interestingly, i4i recently got $200m out of Microsoft for patent infringements in May so expect the Redmond giant to be a little concerned. Win, lose or draw however don't expect Word to disappear from shop shelves for even a minute.