BlackBerry devices embrace Lotus

Paying close attention to customer demand, Waterloo, Ont.’s Research In Motion (RIM) now supports Lotus Notes and Domino on its BlackBerry handheld devices.

The BlackBerry Enterprise Edition for Lotus and Domino will expand the corporate marketplace for BlackBerry by approximately doubling the amount of potential enterprise users, RIM said.

The BlackBerry handheld devices originally only carried support for Microsoft Exchange, but RIM said there are more corporate e-mail seats that are based on Lotus Notes.

According to Dave Werezak, RIM’s vice-president of marketing, the BlackBerry Enterprise Edition will include the same functionality as it offers for Microsoft Exchange including single mailbox, synchronization of the wireless handheld to the corporate e-mail system, as well as the pen tools, calendar task list and contacts.

“It is really the same core value proposition,” Werezak said. “We started with support for Microsoft Exchange and that has been very successful and has grown at a very fast rate. In the process there were many companies we talked to that were interested in getting BlackBerry for Lotus Notes.”

Jeremy Depow, senior analyst with the Yankee Group in Canada in Brockville, Ont., said its introduction of support for Lotus Notes gives RIM an edge.

“This (support) expands the use of BlackBerry products,” Depow said. “It gives (RIM) that ability to dip into that market.”

Depow said that although the market is slightly larger for Lotus Notes, going ahead with support for Exchange in the early days of BlackBerry was likely the best decision.

“The Exchange program seems to have a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses using it,” Depow explained. “Lotus tends to be used among bigger companies that have the need for an intranet and distributing files. It was probably wise to go to Exchange first and test the market and test how well the product did with the applications, and then make the move to Lotus.”

RIM also announced a new working relationship with Lotus Development Corp. that will focus on the development and marketing of mobile and wireless communications solutions, according to the company.

“The BlackBerry Enterprise system is a very solid core foundation for building additional corporate data applications, on top of mobile e-mail and personal information management,” Werezak said. “A lot of what the two companies will be looking at will revolve around extending a lot of the additional data that is in Lotus Notes, to users of BlackBerry on their wireless handhelds.”

Depow said the trend in wireless is the integration of applications and devices. He added that RIM integrating Lotus applications onto the BlackBerry device will create a comprehensive information management tool.

“A relationship with Lotus certainly positions (RIM) in a very good part of the market,” Depow said.

BlackBerry Enterprise Edition is shipping now. Pricing for BlackBerry handhelds start at US$399. BlackBerry Enterprise Server is priced at US$2,999 and the monthly service is a flat rate of US$39.99 per month.

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