Windows Live suite debuts ... on cell phones

If you dig into Microsoft's newly minted Windows Live Services deal between the Redmond software maker and "the world's largest mobile device manufacturer" Nokia, which the pair announced on August 22, it's basically a deal to preload the promised Windows Live suite on Nokia phones.

Microsoft has been promising for a couple of months now that it's going to bundle a bunch of its core Windows Live offerings into a suite. Yet Microsoft still hasn't made that kind of an announcement.

But if you dig into Microsoft's newly minted Live Services deal with "the world's largest mobile device manufacturer" Nokia, which the pair unveiled on August 22, it's basically a deal to preload the Live suite on Nokia phones.

From Microsoft's press release:

"Starting today, Nokia customers in 11 countries with compatible (Nokia) S60 devices can download the new suite enabling access to Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts and Windows Live Spaces. Starting next year, customers who purchase compatible Nokia Series 40 handsets will also have access to these popular Windows Live services."

Starting immediately, S60 phone users can download the Live suite; early next year, the S40 users will get it preinstalled on new phones. Users in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, U.K., Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in the first round of those supported. More countries will come online over time, according to Microsoft.

The fine print: "Initially the service will be available as a free trial, and then customers in select markets wanting to continue using the service may be asked to pay a monthly fee."

Those "sneaky geniuses" over at the independent LiveSide.Net blog think this is a pretty big deal, too.

"This new Windows Live suite for Nokia mobile devices is an important development for Microsoft," said Chris Overd, one of the principals with LiveSide.Net, "as it brings the core Windows Live services to the largest handset manufacturer in the world. This has the potential to significantly increase user engagement across the platform, transforming Windows Live away from the PC into a true set of Internet services available from multiple devices."

"The PC, Internet and mobile phones are going to merge over time, even in Western markets," said Phil Holden, director of Microsoft's Online Services Group Mobile Services. That's why "we are teaming with the Number 1 device maker."