Microsoft this evening said it and Nokia together would hold a conference call late tomorrow morning to unveil an "alliance" between the two firms. The two aren't specific about details. As the call will be led by Microsoft Business president Stephen Elop as well as Nokia's executive devices VP Kai Öistämö, however, it's the news may involve the addition of Office apps to Nokia's smartphones, especially its Eseries business models.
Although Nokia has so far never opted to use an OS other than Symbian for its smart devices, the company has steadily grown closer to Microsoft in recent years and has added Exchange sync as well as Windows Live components while promising an as-yet unreleased port of its Silverlight web plugin. Microsoft Office document use has been possible in a basic form on devices like the E75 but has usually required an after-the-fact download.
If related to Office, the move is potentially self-defeating for Microsoft as it would reduce the incentive to buy Windows Mobile devices, which are the only ones to come with an official Microsoft Office document editor. Nokia's diminishing lead in smartphone market share may play a factor, though most Nokia devices also lack support for DataViz' commonplace Documents To Go editor, which provides a similar function on the faster-growing market share of Apple iPhones and RIM BlackBerries.
Nokia is typically the most popular smartphone choice in Asia and Europe but has begun losing share and is almost non-existent in the US, where various BlackBerries and iPhones make up 6 out of the top 10 smartphones sold while Nokia is absent and Windows Mobile occupies the bottom two ranks.