Starting now, the Finns and Yanks will work on bringing Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote to the Symbian OS (that's Nokia's phone operating system). At the moment, this is one of the major (read: only) advantages to using theOS.
Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile will also bring IM and conferencing apps to Nokia phones, and it'll be this product you'll see released first, in 2010. Realistically, it could be 2011 before we get Office Mobile itself on Symbian. These are cakes that take a whole lot of baking.
On a conference call this afternoon, Nokia was quick to dismiss speculation that this was a partnership aimed at slapping the iPhone around. "This is really about creating a formidable challenge for RIM rather than anyone else," said Nokia exec Kai Oistamo, referring to RIM's BlackBerry email phones.
In the 'mobile professional' world, having Microsoft Office on its phones puts Nokia in a much stronger position to compete with RIM -- and, funnily, Microsoft and its Windows Mobile OS.
For Microsoft? Well, it gets its suite of apps on a pile of Nokia's 200 million phones, strategically also keeping people within the desktop world of MS Office.
By the way, Microsoft's Mac division has a conference call set for this Thursday. It makes Office for Mac among other things. We wonder: Office for iPhone? If Microsoft wants to take down RIM and BlackBerry, it wouldn't be the worst move in the history of moves.