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Microsoft has laid a crack in Apple and Google's ecosystems, announcing it has signed a deal to take charge of the mobility strategy of Australia's biggest glass company O'Brien.

The company famous down under for it's "oh oh oh, O'Brien" advertisements will give its 500 or so employees Nokia's Lumia 625 smartphones in a big to boost productivity of technicians on the road.

O'Brien also said it's in the process of working on a new mobile app, developed for Windows Mobile, that will allow staff to handle everything from invoices to repair details.

O’Brien's director of information technology Matt McKenzie said that the automation of its paper based processes was a clear win from an operational and technology perspective, with the ability for technicians to collect payment in the field being key.

“Choosing the right smartphone to facilitate this transition was critical as we wanted to future proof our digital strategy by ensuring we could deliver a consistent experience across any mobile device,” he said.

When looking at various options O’Brien considered Windows Phone, iOS and Android operating systems but the company said the choice was "easy" once the company drilled down into it.

“For us the choice was clear cut. Windows Phone offered the only consistent experience that could be rolled out across devices, while Nokia Lumia offered a feature rich smartphone with great form factor and wasn’t as fragile as other devices in the market which was a key decision point for us," he said.

“The screen size of the Lumia 625 also made a lot of sense, plus the ability to use the touchscreen with gloves on is a big win for the guys on the road.”

McKenzie said early benefits included the in-built HERE maps and the ability to view all of the day’s jobs on one screen, rather than having multiple pieces of paper, while sharing photos with the wider mobile technician team had also proved to be a big help when fixing difficult or unusual problems.

“The roll-out is well underway and has already made a big difference to the productivity of our mobile workforce," McKenzie said.

"The support provided by Nokia and the Microsoft teams has made the switch easy and we’re on track to roll-out all the Lumia fleet by the end of the quarter.'

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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