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Microsoft signs Motorola as vital ally in fixed-mobile convergence

New partners could pitch against Cisco and Nokia

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Motorola vs Nokia

No enterprise device maker can afford to ignore Office of course – even Nokia supports platforms like Exchange in its mobile email systems – but Motorola has gained itself a clear "most favoured" position that will boost a mobile enterprise offering that had looked uninteresting compared to the Finnish company's aggressive advances of the past two years.

Nokia clearly wants to diminish the role of Windows in the large company as mobile access becomes commonplace, and to take an influential role in devices and middleware itself. To this end, it is closely allied with IBM, which helped it to launch its first dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular smartphone, and an increasingly strong supporter of Linux. Its non-cellular internet tablet, which runs Linux and Wi-Fi, is one of its most successful business products ever.

Motorola, for its part, has always been more willing to work with Microsoft than Nokia, and sees the Finnish giant as the chief threat to its own targets for market share in the corporate sector. Although also highly committed to Linux and Java, Motorola has been offering Windows Mobile smartphones for over phonemaker recently ended a joint venture for enterprise convergence with Cisco, the biggest potential threat to Microsof's unified communications ambitions, with Cisco switching its allegiance to Nokia.

One of Motorola's biggest strengths in the enterprise market, though one that it has so far under-exploited, is its advanced work in fixed/mobile convergence, and this was to have been the heart of the Cisco venture, originally set up a year ago.

At this stage, Motorola and Cisco announced plans to deliver "a seamless enterprise mobility solution that will include wireless Lan IP telephony and cellular phone technologies", allowing mobile handsets to roam between the different networks, and based around the WSM technology that Microsoft is now using. In April, Motorola said it had "moved beyond" the Cisco plan and was planning to go directly to full unified communications – clearly now, with the help of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Cisco had agreed to a project with Nokia to develop fixed/mobile unified communications based on the SIP protocol, with three Cisco business units - wireless, carrier services and Core Manager/VoIP – contributing.

Microsoft has expanded its agreement with Siemens to integrate the German company's HiPath 8000 softswitch real time telephony with Exchange Server and Office Live Communications Server using the OpenScape communications broker capability.

Meanwhile, HP will deliver hardware devices and systems integration services.

Copyright © 2006, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

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