Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nokia evolves enterprise strategy

Nokia announced today that it is 'renewing its business mobility solutions and strategy'. Nokia will cease developing or marketing its own behind-the-firewall solutions. Rather than offering its own complete end-to-end solutions, Nokia will strengthen strategic partnerships and will form its enterprise offering by combining Nokia devices and applications with software solutions from companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Cisco.

This represents a significant strategic change for Nokia. Nokia will continues to evolve its range of business focused devices (Eseries), but will partner with other companies to provide additional services: wireless email, VPN, VoIP and security software.

One of the main products affected by the announcement is Nokia's Intellisync push email offering, which was the result of a $400m acquisition in 2006. Nokia's Intellisync solution has struggled to compete with Microsoft's Exchange and RIM's Blackberry offerings. Indeed the majority of Nokia's enterprise devices are used in conjunction with non-Nokia services such as Microsoft Exchange. It therefore, perhaps, makes sense for Nokia to step back from providing the server software for corporate wireless email.

Nokia's most recent Eseries devices, the E71 and E66, do not currently support the Blackberry service (in sharp contrast to earlier devices). In the light of today's announcement we would not be surprised to see this change in the near future.

As part of the strategic change Nokia is also announcing that it is in advanced discussions for the the potential sales of its security appliance business to a financial investor.

It is worth noting that it is not the end of the road for Intellisync; the technology and many of the Nokia personnel will be 'reallocated' to the consumer push email solution which is being delivered under the Nokia Email service (currently in Beta). It seems likely this, or a branded version, will become part of the Ovi offering in due course.

Here's an extract from the press release:

"We have very strong relationships with industry leading enterprise technology partners such as Cisco and Microsoft, as well as a broad range of operator and retail channel partners. Together with them, we will use our expertise in devices, as well as the combined channel footprint and customer base, to deliver a range of unbeatable end-to-end offerings for business. The initial success of the Nokia E71 with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync is a great example of the attractiveness of our new approach, " said Niklas Savander, EVP, Services & Software, Nokia. "We will also continue with our investment strategy to develop key consumer internet services in areas such as music, games, media, messaging and context based services. "

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