Microsoft, Nokia Take Aim at BlackBerry

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Nokia Corp. (NOK), once bitter rivals in the mobile market, formed an alliance to strengthen their positions at a time when other competitors have become far more troublesome.

The deal between the two companies will bring Microsoft’s Office programs and other software to Nokia phones. It is aimed squarely at the professional market that Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) targets so successfully with its BlackBerry line of smart phones.

For Microsoft, the deal is an attempt to increase the appeal of Office–a lucrative franchise that includes Word, Excel and other productivity programs–to a business audience that is being courted by competing products from rivals that range from Google Inc. (GOOG) to Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO). Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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