Nokia Chases BlackBerry Market With IBM Lotus Notes Deal

Nokia and IBM are teaming up to bring corporate e-mail, calendar, address book and messaging functions to mobile workers.

Nokia’s move is its latest attempt to compete with Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device. The Finland-based phonemaker signed a similar deal with Microsoft in September.

The deal with Big Blue will let Nokia smartphone owners access IBM Lotus Notes e-mail starting next month.

E-Mail on the Go

“Today’s announcement is about mobilizing corporate e-mail and personal information management,” Ilari Nurmi, a Nokia vice president, told the E-Commerce Times. “With the 80 million Nokia smartphones in the market now and Lotus Notes Traveler, we can mobilize e-mail, calendar and address book applications that corporate users are using.”

Nokia has more than 40 different smartphone models that can use the new Lotus Notes service.

“There’s no need to buy new devices,” Nurmi said. “There are many current smartphone models being used that can support this service.”

That hasn’t stopped Nokia from touting two new smartphones as the flagship devices for the Lotus Notes service — the E71 and its stripped-down counterpart, the E63.

The E71 and E63

Nokia controlled 47.5 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter, according to Gartner.

“Almost anywhere you go, you’ll find Nokia devices,” Nurmi said.

The two phones Nokia is most eager for mobile workers and consumers to find are the E71 and the E63.

The E71, a thin, stainless steel device, first shipped in July and is Nokia’s flagship messaging product.

“We’ve had very strong sales success with the E71,” Nurmi said. “We sold 1 million E71s in the third quarter.”

That’s four times the number of RIM’s BlackBerry Bold, he said.

The E63 is a cheaper version of the E71 and targets a broader customer base that includes consumers, students and mobile workers looking to save some cash with the economy turning sour.

“This is also a more affordable opportunity for corporations that want to mobilize their workforce,” Nurmi said. “There is also a large student base that does not want to pay a great deal of money but still wants messaging and Internet access on the go.”

The E63 was unveiled last week and will go on sale in December.

Direct to the Server

Through its partnerships with IBM and Microsoft, Nokia has made it possible for mobile workers to connect directly to their organizations’ server networks.

“In the corporate landscape, Nokia believes in the model where the devices themselves connect directly to the e-mail servers on the corporate networks,” Nurmi said. “The companies do not need to buy additional middleware for their servers. We believe, in times like now when cost-efficiency is important, this is one vehicle for mobilizing the workforce in a cost-efficient way.”

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