While Apple and Google get most of the headlines for their growing domination of the mobile Internet environment, three of the giants of the tech industry are increasingly huddling together for mutual reassurance and support.
Nokia remains the world's number one handset maker by some margin, but it's continued inability to produce a handset to take on the iPhone and the Android ecosystem has raised doubts about the likelihood of this dominance continuing.
Accordingly Nokia has allied itself with the two companies that have dominated the PC market for pretty much its entire history. With Intel Nokia is developing a new mobile device platform - MeeGo - and probably has the inside track should it choose to make devices running Intel's new smartphone chips.
On the Microsoft side of things the focus is on productivity, and the target is probably more RIM than Apple or Google. RIM has become one of the biggest phone-makers in the world on the back of being synonymous with push email, and its handsets are now standard-issue at many companies. The Nokia/Microsoft collaboration, first announced in the middle of last year, aims to be the new BlackBerry.
The first product to result from this alliance was announced yesterday - Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia. This is a unified communications client based on Office that aims to present a variety of communications options - phone, video conference, IM, etc - on one interface and dynamically represent the availability of a given contact.
"This application really provides a much more efficient way to work with others, as you can see if someone is busy or available and the best way to start a conversation with them," said Ukko Lappalainen, VP at Nokia. "It also meets all of the requirements for the enterprise: cost-effective to implement, secure, familiar and reliable."
Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia will initially be available for the Nokia E52 and E72, and the two companies plan to release it for the E5 in due course.