Nokia and IBM join forces on mobile e-mail

Nokia and IBM will work together on mobile e-mail, they announced on Thursday.

Nokia and IBM are linking mobile phones to Notes, the companies announced Thursday.

Nokia S60 3rd Edition devices can connect to corporate e-mail accounts via Lotus Domino Server add-on feature Notes Traveler, without any additional costs, the companies said.

Users will get real time access to e-mail, calendar, address book, journal and to-do list data from December.

The integration is something Notes users have been waiting for, according to IBM.

"We see a wide distribution of Nokia devices within our customer base. I was at a user function in Germany about ten days ago and gave a preview of this announcement to a set of our customers, and got spontaneous applause," said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of IBM Lotus Software.

Nokia dropped its own enterprise e-mail software in September, and instead decided to focus on working with the large e-mail vendors.

"This is a reinforcement of that strategy. We believe that the IT infrastructure in the corporate premises will be deployed, developed and sold by the experts in that field, meaning companies like IBM and Microsoft," said Ilari Nurmi, vice president, Eseries sales at Nokia.

This announcement also puts functionality for Notes users on par with Exchange users, according to Nurmi, and is the most important piece that Nokia has been missing.

To activate the new functionality, a client has to be installed on each phone. That can be done over-the-air using Notes Traveler, according to a spokesman at Nokia.

More than 40 Nokia phones will be compatible with Traveler, giving Nokia a boost in the battle with Research in Motion's BlackBerry, according to Nurmi.

Nokia can emerge as a stronger force in the enterprise mobile e-mail space as a result of it deciding to drop its own software, because it is now easier for the large vendors in the space to work with Nokia, said Leif-Olof Wallin, research vice president at Gartner. Nokia first got Microsoft on board, and now it has moved on to the number two vendor.

Lotus Notes Traveler, which already supports Windows Mobile devices, provides the synchronization mechanism out to the mobile device. It will either run on the Domino Server that is already in place or on a server next to it, and enterprises are entitled to it when they purchase their Domino Server, according to Cavanaugh.

"We have seen people up and running in 30 minutes, with mobile devices attached," said Cavanaugh.

In the mobile enterprise space IBM is currently seeing customers going beyond doing just mobile e-mail and getting mobile services to a higher percentage of employees. Those employees are also demanding that they can use the mobile phone of their choice, according to Cavanaugh.

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