Nine years ago, I learned about a skunkworks project Microsoft had handed off to an Israeli software firm that was to have seen a port of Microsoft Office to Linux. The port was seen as a just-in-case solution, but with Linux not ever taking off in any serious way on the desktop, it was dropped, never to be seen in public.

Now, it appears that Microsoft Office is once again going to appear on Linux, only this time I'm basing this prediction not on first-hand knowledge of the work, but rather on speculation. But it's not what you think. And it's really not that far-fetched.

First, Microsoft will never port Office to desktop Linux. The market just isn't there.

Second, Microsoft and Nokia have partnered to port Office Mobile (and other Microsoft mobile wares) to Nokia's smart phones. They're beginning with the E series, but have said that they will push Office to other Nokia devices after that. Here's where it gets fuzzy. The deal appears to be for phones based on the aging Symbian operating system.

But ... Third, Nokia appears to be moving away from Symbian. (The company says that is not the case, however.) Their N-series devices run Linux and the latest version, the N900, is a traditional smart phone, with a slide-out keyboard, GSM/HSDPA wireless, and all the smart phone goodness one could expect. It's a great looking smart phone. It'd be a natural for Office Mobile.

So will Microsoft Office finally make its way to Linux, by way of the N900, or a similar Linux-based smart phone? I think it might just happen.