IBM and RIM target corporate back offices

Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd. announced recently that its BlackBerry customers would 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 chooses.

He noted that 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 based on 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.”

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