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Microsoft Office Coming to Nokia Phones...But Without Word?

It's all good news on this mid-August day, right? Microsoft, in a bolt of wisdom, has signed a deal with Nokia to offer Office on Nokia handsets.

Finally, Microsoft is admitting that Windows Mobile isn't ever going to be what Windows is on the desktop. Not even close, in fact. (Well, OK, Microsoft is still giving Windows Mobile lip service, but let's face it -- the mobile operating system is something of a dud and is getting less popular, not more.)

In letting Office break free from the shackles of Windows Mobile, Microsoft, with Nokia (which runs its phones on the Symbian mobile OS), can launch an assault on the BlackBerry (in fact, that's an actual headline in The New York Times) and carve out a profitable niche in the mobile market with a product everybody knows and lots of people love. So, that's all good, right, partners? A nice little moneymaker there?

Um, maybe. Or maybe not. Because, as you might have read by now, a judge in your editor's home state of Texas has banned sales of Microsoft Word as part of a ruling in a patent case. No, seriously! Not only does Microsoft owe the perhaps appropriately named i4i Inc. $290 million, but the judge in the case (which i4i obviously won) has stopped sales of Microsoft Word in the U.S.

Or he will, anyway, in 60 days, when the ban will take effect -- which means he probably won't because Microsoft will surely appeal the ruling and will likely win. So, Microsoft mobile partners and Office fans, you'll probably be free to buy and sell Word and the rest of Office for a Nokia cell phone (or for anything else that runs Office) for the foreseeable future, even 60 days from now. And that is some good news on a mid-August day.

What's your take on Microsoft's mobile strategy? Is the Nokia deal the end of Windows Mobile? Should it be? Sound of at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 08/13/2009 at 1:22 PM


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