RIM signs another deal

After announcing licensing deals with Handspring Inc. on Nov. 5 and Palm Inc. on Nov. 7, it appears as if Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) is on a roll.

Nokia Corp. has agreed to license the BlackBerry wireless e-mail software developed by the Waterloo, Ont.-based firm in a move to simplify messaging services for corporate customers, the companies announced Friday.

The Espoo, Finland, manufacturer of mobile handsets will integrate BlackBerry software in a range of devices targeting enterprise users, Nokia and RIM said in a statement.

Nokia declined to say which products would include the software and when they would be available, or provide financial details of the nonexclusive agreement.

“We have signed a nonexclusive deal to use proprietary BlackBerry software because we support open standards and don’t want to lock ourselves into any one system,” said Nokia spokesman Damian Stathonikos. “BlackBerry offers certain advantages, such as e-mail forwarding, that we would like to provide to our corporate customers.”

BlackBerry software supports various enterprise requirements, such as back-end integration, end-to-end security and push-based wireless applications. The software is also at the heart of BlackBerry-branded wireless devices already available in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong and the U.S.

In recent months, RIM has signed numerous agreements with mobile phone companies in Europe and the U.S. The company has now embarked on an ambitious Asia expansion strategy.

“One of the main features of BlackBerry software is its push function, allowing the e-mail of corporate users to be sent automatically to their handheld devices,” Stathonikos said. “Forwarding attachments is also possible.”

Numerous Nokia products already offer e-mail capability, but with some limitations. Users can send a text message using SMS (Short Message Service) to a special number for conversion or can dial into a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) portal to manage their e-mail, according to Stathonikos.

In addition, the Nokia Communicator and the company’s new Java-enabled 6800 handset support the three most popular e-mail standards used by enterprises: IMAP4 (Internet Message Access Protocol 4), POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) and SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), Stathonikos said, declining to say whether BlackBerry software would be integrated into these products.