Microsoft sure is in a Monty Hall type of mood these days. Today, it called out, "Let's make a deal!" and Nokia responded, "Sure!" The result? An agreement to develop Microsoft Office apps for Nokia phones.
Consider this is a part of the ongoing Microsoft-Google battle. The two companies are trying to wear down each others' strengths, with Microsoft attempting to take a bite out of Google's search dominance (most recently by signing a search deal with Yahoo) and Google taking aim at Microsoft's productivity app dominance. Here, Microsoft is trying to pick up some leverage against makers of free productivity apps -- you know, like Google Apps.
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As to what Nokia gets out of the deal, it is certainly helpful to be able to offer the most popular productivity suite. Sure the iPhone is sexy and the BlackBerry is a business dynamo, but neither one of them can directly offer Word or Excel. This certainly gives Nokia a leg up on the competition (though with little U.S. distribution for Nokia's Web-capable devices, it may well be that any serious competition occurs in Europe and Asia).
The question going forward is how this will affect the overall mobile strategies of Microsoft and Nokia. The two companies are head-to-head competitors in the mobile space, and Microsoft notes that it is in no way conceding to Nokia's Symbian as the superior OS to its own Windows Mobile (which, as you would expect, already offers Office Mobile). The alliance could end up being an uneasy one, but for the moment, it looks like a good deal for both parties. Microsoft gets wider distribution for Office in the burgeoning mobile space, and Nokia gets to offer something its chief competitors can't. No zonks here!