There's more to the announcement by Nokia and Microsoft that Office will come to smartphones manufactured by the finnish phone maker than simply a few licenses.
PC World reckons that the newly found alliance is a stepping stone and the prelude for Microsoft to release a set of tools which will help create a single cross-platform environment.
This, Microsoft believes, will bring together "Windows, non-Windows platforms and devices on the back of its System Center tools". To some extent, Microsoft will be providing the software equivalent of the RIMs Enterprise server solution.
As for who will provide with the hardware, well, chances are that Intel may be involved at some point following the strategic partnership it forged with Nokia.
Intel has been particularly aggressive in the mobile segment recently, even if it sold XScale it in June 2006 to Marvel Technology group to focus on the x86 family and it is likely to focus on getting its processors as energy efficient as possible.
The world's biggest semiconductor company cannot be discounted as its huge annual research and development department, which has a budget of around $6 billion and thousands of engineers, allows it to perfom tricks with chips that others can only dream of.
So Nokia could find itself being reinvented by Intel and Microsoft as the 2009 version of IBM. 28 years ago, IBM enlisted Intel and Microsoft in a similar pact to create the first PC Compatible system; the rest as they say, is history.
Back then, the world of computers was as fragmented as that of mobiles today with several competing platforms. The Wintel alliance commoditized personal computing by creating one dominating ecosystem and the same may happen soon.