Quickoffice and the Nokia-Microsoft alliance

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Yesterdays news of the Nokia - Microsoft alliance around enterprise software and services has been generating a lot of interest. One of the interesting side stories is that Nokia's Symbian phones already have an outstanding Office compatible software suite, in the form of Quickoffice, which ships with every current Nokia Symbian phone. Quickoffice have released their own statement today noting that its Symbian business represents only a portion of its overall business and that it will ship on 200 million Nokia Symbian phones before Microsoft's product is even released. See below for comment and their statement in full.

It will take a considerable time for Microsoft to develop a Symbian version of its Office suite. As such, the impact, at the moment, is theoretical. Quickoffice will remain the dominant document viewing and editing software on Symbian for at least the next 18 months and very possibly beyond that.

As we noted yesterday, 'Microsoft will have to work hard to reach parity with Quickoffice on the Symbian platform'. I would not anticipate that happening in the first release, especially as Quickoffice will continue to innovate in that time period (and, subsequently, will likely be able to innovate faster). Moreover, there are still plenty of unanswered questions around pricing and bundling, so it will be sometime before the full effect can be assessed.

However, it does seem likely that at some point in the future (18 months?) Quickoffice will no longer be the default document viewing/editing option on new Symbian devices from Nokia. Given Nokia's smartphone market share, that will certainly have an impact on Quickoffice. How big an impact it will have is hard to assess. For example, a general use of, and acceptance of getting software from app stores may counter some of the benefits of being pre-installed (especially if superior functionality is available). You might also balance Quickoffice's established reputation and position as incumbent in the Symbian world against the strength of the direct Microsoft brand.

Here's Quickoffice's statement in full:

“Having supported the Symbian platform for many years, Quickoffice recognizes the push toward connected mobile services. While our office suite is the world’s overwhelming market share leader on the Symbian platform, it represents only a percentage of our worldwide revenues. Quickoffice is excited about the work we’re doing on other leading and emerging platforms and our direct-to-consumer sales, as evidenced by our number one business app for iPhone and our upcoming announcements with Android. Quickoffice is committed to bringing the best, most innovative products to market, in support of our vision for the mobile connected office.” Alan Masarek, CEO.

  • "We believe that the Office and Mobile Productivity market is an important space. This announcement highlights the relevance of our Mobile Office and mobile productivity market.
  • "Quickoffice will continue to support our worldwide user base. We’re shipping on over 100M smartphones and our next version, which includes many of these announced features by Microsoft, will ship on 200M Symbian phones before Microsoft’s product comes out in the marketplace. We have a robust feature roadmap coming on Symbian and our experience on this platform is unmatched.
  • "Quickoffice is one of the leading Symbian developer, but our sales on Symbian devices does not make up a majority of Quickoffice revenue. Quickoffice has always developed for a diversified portfolio of smartphone OS’ and will continue to innovate and expand our product line. Our ‘Quickoffice for iPhone’ suite is the #1 application in the Business Category on the App Store, and our file management capabilities, which provide remote access to content and documents, highlight a few features in our roadmap.
  • "Nokia and Microsoft are touching on a suite of services which we refer to as "Connected Services”, and it represents the next generation of our thinking in the Mobile Office market. Quickoffice has some great solutions coming out in this space which will make Office accessible to a broader audience.