IBM's Lotus Domino will use Web services to extend existing applications to RIM's wireless device.
IBM has begun making Lotus applications available for BlackBerry device users, allowing companies that have developed applications for other Lotus platforms with Notes and Domino to run those applications on the BlackBerry wireless handheld device.
"We already have integration between BlackBerry and Notes users for e-mail, calendar and PIM," said IBM vice president of business development Sean Poulley.
"Weve had this integration for quite some number of years," he said, adding that as many as 125 million Notes users have currently been enabled for BlackBerry use.
Poulley said that the latest news revolves around application delivery.
"You can use applications with the Notes Domino platform," he said. "Through new Web services technology, we are now able to expose tens of millions of applications to BlackBerry users and people on the go."
According to David Yach, senior vice president of software for Waterloo, Ontario-based Research In Motion, the move was a natural for both companies.
"We have a lot of complementary technology," Yach said. "They [IBM] have their collaboration suite, we have our BlackBerry. The challenge becomes for a customer taking this technology to their standards, it should mesh together."
He said that the biggest part of the process was making sure the technologies actually work together as they are supposed to.
"This is making it better for our mutual customers," Yach said, adding that engineering teams from both companies are making sure everything works, and that there is no finger-pointing when customers have problems. "We want the customer to not feel caught in the middle," he said.
Poulley said that RIM is offering a free 10-user BlackBerry software license for Lotus customers.
"We previewed this with a number of our largest customers, and they loved it."
According to Poulley, most Notes-based applications will now work with the BlackBerry devices.
He said that customers can start using everything from inventory to CRM while mobile and not have to take a laptop computer along.
Read more here about recently added BlackBerry applications.
One of the applications that IBM has already previewed is to use SAP and Notes with the BlackBerry.
IBM is also working with RIM to optimize the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for use with Notes.
The company has already made its DB2 database available for use with Notes and the BlackBerry.
The ability for Notes applications to work with BlackBerry devices was announced May 17, but has already been made available by IBM and RIM.
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Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.