Nokia’s (NOK) smartphones are popular abroad but have been mostly irrelevant in the U.S. market. Will better mobile corporate email help?
All Nokia phones running its Symbian S60 operating system will now be able to download Microsoft’s (MSFT) ActiveSync email software, which connects to Microsoft’s popular Exchange servers for real-time “push” email, calendar, and contact syncing. This is the same software that Apple (AAPL) recently rolled out to its iPhones to beef up its enterprise presence, and that phones running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile use. WSJ:
“It’s an additional value point for the devices themselves,” said David Petts, senior vice president of mobility for Nokia, adding that while the U.S. market hasn’t been the strongest area for Nokia, he hopes this feature will help attract users.
ActiveSync was previously available only to E-series phones as a download, but the feature was little publicized and the procedure often considered tedious.
ActiveSync will now be available on 43 models of Nokia phones, which means lower-end phones will also be able to run the program.
There are 80 million Nokia devices in the market already using the S60 operating system that can download the program. Mr. Petts said the process of installing and setting up ActiveSync on existing phones has been simplified as well.
While this won’t significantly reduce RIM’s market share any time soon, it’s a smart move for both companies: Nokia’s phones have never taken off as email devices in the U.S.; better software can’t hurt. And anything Microsoft can do to weaken RIM’s dominance in the mobile email market — even if via a rival brand’s phone — is to its benefit.
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