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Microsoft challenges Nokia's IT credentials

The software giant says it would, however, be glad to expand its working relationship with Nokia.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

A Microsoft exec has criticized Nokia for focusing too little on the IT needs of its customers.

Marianne Röling, EMEA regional director of mobile and embedded devices at Microsoft, speaking today at the Gartner Mobile and Wireless Summit in London, said the Finnish handset giant fallen short on the IT side of mobility.

"I don't think they know the enterprise business very well--they're a phone company," she said. "They've never spoken to a CIO."

Röling said Microsoft would, however, be glad to expand its working relationship with Nokia, which currently sells one in every three of the world's phones.

"We're courting--we're open for business," she said. "We really like Nokia." The pair already have a business agreement, with Nokia licensing Windows Media Player for its devices as well as the Exchange portion of Microsoft's ActiveSync for push e-mail.

"They recognise we do at least one or two things very well," Röling said.

Nokia, however, has traditionally thrown its not inconsiderable weight behind the Symbian operation system--a rival to Windows Mobile--which now has over 60 per cent market share of smart phones, and bases the majority of its smart devices on its S60 platform, running on top of Symbian.

According to Nick Jones, Gartner VP and distinguished analyst, CIOs should look beyond makes of handset or even operating systems when it comes to standardizing.

"As corporations, you shouldn't necessarily choose a manufacturer, you should choose a platform," he said. "And if you're a company, don't choose raw Symbian, choose Nokia Series 60," he said.

Jones added that he expects the unsubsidised retail price of the average smart phone to fall below US$120 by 2009 and that such advanced devices will make up 40 per cent of the entire market in Europe that year.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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