RIM ‘Connects’ with Microsoft, Symbian


NEW ORLEANS — Research in Motion , used the CTIA Wireless 2003 spotlight
on Monday to formally unveil its ‘BlackBerry Connect’ licensing program and
immediately announced deals to open its wireless e-mail gateway to the
Symbian and Microsoft operating systems.

RIM also scored a deal with Taiwan-based High Tech Computer (HTC), a leading OEM for Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone products, including Hewlett-Packard’s iPAQ line.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, known mostly for its e-mail pager
device, said the ‘BlackBerry Connect’ licensing program clears the way for
rival mobile devices to connect to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server using a
push-based wireless architecture and infrastructure.

In what is viewed as huge client wins for RIM, the company has signed up
Symbian and Microsoft , and plans to add Nokia in the second half of 2003. Financial terms of the deals were not
released.


“We’re looking to give customers what they want: choice,” Mark Guibert, vice president of brand management at RIM, told internetnews.com. “And we want to expand our market opportunity in doing so.”

RIM said it would provide a BlackBerry connectivity solution to carriers
and Symbian OS licensees to enable wireless e-mail and corporate data
services on Symbian telephones. The U.K.-based Symbian counts Psion,
Ericsson and Motorola as stakeholders.

A similar deal was announced Monday to enable BlackBerry connectivity for
mobile devices based on the Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC and
Smartphone platforms. RIM said its technology would be used by mobile
device manufacturers and mobile operators easily integrate BlackBerry email
and data services into their Pocket PC and Smartphone products.

“RIM is committed to enhancing and extending the BlackBerry wireless
platform with multi-device and multi-network support,” said RIM chairman Jim
Balsillie. He said the company had worked closely with Microsoft on
integrating BlackBerry with Exchange and was now expanding that partnership
to provide BlackBerry connectivity to Smartphone and Pocket PC
licensees.

The company’s BlackBerry is styled as a wireless enterprise platform that
supports back-end integration, end-to-end security and push-based wireless
applications for corporate customers.

But the licensing plan also allows RIM to extend its influence into consumer markets — especially “pro-sumers” looking for a business solution without enterprise backing — without over-extending itself by taking a competitive stance in the lower-end commodity handheld market.

Guibert also noted that the licensing program satisfies customer demand for multi-vendor options.

“We can differentiate on the handheld side on the higher end,” Guibert said.

Separately, RIM introduced a new pager — the BlackBerry 6210 — a data
and voice-enabled device for the North American market.

The company said the new pager would feature increased memory for
application and data storage and new support for wireless e-mail
synchronization and integrated attachment viewing. Based on Java, the
BlackBerry 6210 promises delivery of e-mail, phone, SMS, browser and
organizer applications.

News Around the Web