Is Nokia losing its enterprise mojo?

Or does it still have time for business?

Or does it still have time for business?

Nokia has announced it will stop marketing its own unified communications offerings for enterprise mobility. Natasha Lomas asks if the Mighty Finn has fallen out of love with business users.

Any press release that kicks off with the words "continued commitment to deliver" inevitably goes on to detail how its subject is up to the polar opposite, sure as eggs is eggs.

The company in question is Nokia and the message it is apparently trying to get across is that it still loves business users - even if last week, at a painfully trendy club in Camden, the Finnish giant launched its first touchscreen smart phone - which includes limitless music downloads and a coloured guitar pick for use as an 'alternative stylus'... (hmm).

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The situation becomes more confusing still when you read the first line of the release: "With its sights firmly fixed on consumer internet services and with a clear vision of changing industry trends, Nokia is today announcing the renewal of its business mobility strategy."

Renewal? Sounds more like they mean 'death of a thousand cuts', especially when you get to the nitty-gritty of the release - which is that the Mighty Finn is to "cease developing or marketing its own behind-the-firewall business mobility solutions".

The release goes on to say: "The appropriate technologies and expertise will be reallocated to Nokia's new consumer push email service," adding that from now on the mobile maker will "form its enterprise solutions offering by combining Nokia devices and applications with software solutions from industry leading enterprise vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, Cisco and others".

Nokia only bought Intellisync - the data and PIM syncronisation software that it will now cease to develop or market - some two and a half years ago. Yet the other day it announced the acquisition of Oz Communications, a Canadian outfit that creates software to hook up consumer email and IM access. So that's business services 0, consumer services 2 by my count.

So what's going on here? Has Nokia ditched courting the CIO in favour of milking the mighty consumer?

Not exactly. This is more about the Finns playing to their strengths and, above all, knowing where their weaknesses lie. Or as Claudio Castelli, from analyst Ovum, puts it: "The company has recognised that it is unable to advance into the enterprise market as a standalone mobility solutions provider" - and will therefore let the big boys of enterprise do their unified communications thing, and grow its enterprise footprint accordingly as one link in the UC chain (or so it hopes).

Castelli adds: "In contrast to its main enterprise rivals, Nokia never had a PBX installed base or a software collaboration footprint. As a result, its direct relationship with enterprises was weak." Microsoft et al can of course boast very well oiled enterprise relationships - so Nokia's previous attempt to go it alone in this space seems at best ambitious.

Last month the company also announced it will be enabling Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for all S60 3rd Edition devices - some 43 phones in all - cosying up to Redmond for what it described as "the solution chosen by more businesses than any other messaging solution".

So business users sleep easy: Nokia still loves you. Perhaps more so than ever since it's likely to be getting even deeper into bed with Microsoft on your behalf. Our Finnish friends are merely concentrating on what they do best: making devices and user interfaces.

That will surely end up being good news for business and consumers alike - not least because the distinctions between those worlds are becoming increasingly blurred.

Now where's that guitar pick…