IBM and RIM extend mobile computing partnership

Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd. announced on Thursday that its BlackBerry customers will have access to IBM’s WebSphere Everyplace Access (WEA) mobile middleware thanks to an agreement struck by both companies.

The companies will integrate IBM’s WEA with RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server which, according to RIM, would allow BlackBerry users to access enterprise data and wirelessly synch the handheld device with server applications.

This agreement follows in the footsteps of another deal IBM made with Palm Inc. over a year ago, according to Warren Chaisatien, senior telecom analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto. He added that the main component to this agreement is IBM’s WebSphere, which can work with any mobile device a company happens to choose.

He noted that the Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM, has been “the leader in the corporate wireless e-mail arena for many years.”

“However, when it gets to more complex enterprise mobility applications, I think they also need a partner who is very strong in the corporate IT department. So, this is a very good match for them,” Chaisatien said.

When it comes to choosing Palm or RIM devices, enterprises will likely make their decision base don the type of device already being used, he explained.

“Basically, whether you use a RIM device or a Palm device or a data-capable cell phone to access the wireless enterprise applications, it doesn’t really matter. I guess [it would depend on] the device legacy that resides within an organization.”

The numerous mobile solutions available in the market today – which are the cause of many headaches for IT managers and CIOs struggling with many different standards and devices – are a benefit to customers looking for the package that suits them best, Chaisatien said.

This trend in the mobile market – many vendors coming out and offering very similar products and services – isn’t something that is going to disappear anytime soon, he added.

“We are seeing a lot of players new and old competing. There are also a lot of emerging players coming into the market everyday. So, the market is far from being settled in terms of who will dominate the platform unlike the PC market where 98 per cent of PC users use Microsoft Windows,” Chaisatien said. “I don’t think we are going to get to that stage.”

This agreement extends the partnership held by IBM Global Services and RIM in which IBM is a systems integrator for RIM offering installation, maintenance, financing and consulting services.

RIM can be found online at Additional information on the BlackBerry device can be found at IBM Canada can be found at