Windows Phone 8 Enterprise Adoption
Nokia and Avanade, a major Microsoft partner and IT consulting firm, are partnering on an initiative aimed at encouraging enterprise adoption of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 devices.
Under the partnership, announced on Wednesday, Nokia and Avanade will provide businesses with Nokia Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8, as well as business-focused apps and services. Avanade will also contribute guidance for companies looking to test drive and eventually adopt Windows Phone 8.
Nokia is Microsoft's most important OEM partner in the smartphone space, having decided in early 2011 to largely eschew its own Symbian mobile OS on its devices for the Windows Phone platform. The Finland-based smartphone manufacturer launched the first true flagship Windows Phone device with the Lumia 900, which ran Windows Phone 7. Its latest Lumia devices, the Lumia 920 and the lower-end Lumia 820, run Windows Phone 8.
Seattle-based Avanade is owned in part by Microsoft and is also a subsidiary of Accenture, a Microsoft national systems integrator (NSI). Avanade cited the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend among businesses as the reasoning behind the partnership with Nokia. The firm pointed to an October study it commissioned that indicated that employees are increasingly using smartphones for work-related tasks. A growing number of workers also want to use smartphones for "more complex" functions, such as customer relationship management (CRM), Avanade's study found.
According to the announcement, the two companies are already working with an unnamed UK bank in its migration to Windows Phone 8. Avanade and Nokia are developing a framework to integrate Windows Phone 8 with the bank's SharePoint and Exchange environments, building a corporate hub to give employees access to business apps, and implementing security policies for the mobile devices.
"There is a significant gap in the market for a new class of business-focused mobile services and solutions," said Ian Jordan, an executive vice president at Avanade, in a prepared statement. "Avanade and Nokia are working together to fill this gap; integrating Nokia Lumia smartphones built on Windows Phone 8, with business applications such as Microsoft Office, CRM and access to company information to improve collaboration, productivity and sales."
Generally, Windows Phone has struggled to gain significant market share against perennial market leaders iOS and Android since launching in 2009. The latest figures from research firm Kantar Worldpanel show Windows Phone with just 2.7 percent U.S. market share in the 12 weeks ending on Nov. 25 (PDF). Worldwide, Microsoft's mobile OS ended the third quarter of 2012 with just 2.4 percent market share, according to Gartner.
However, Gartner projects that Windows Phone 8, which was launched in late October, will give both the platform and Nokia a market share boost in 2013. Nokia this week reported an upswing in sales of the Windows Phone-based Lumia devices in Q4 2012, the New York Times reported on Thursday, totaling 4.4 million devices sold in the period compared to 2.9 million in Q3 2012.