BlackBerries and Macs Grow Closer

"PocketMac for BlackBerry" software for desktops lets BlackBerry devices synch with Macs, possibly giving Apple a foot in the door with corporate customers.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd. announced plans Thursday to offer free software that lets Macintosh users synchronize their BlackBerry devices with the calendar and contact applications on their Macs.

RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, is teaming up with Information Appliance Associates, a San Diego, Calif., company that makes a synchronization application called PocketMac.

PocketMac for BlackBerry has been available from IAA since August 2004, but up until now, the software has cost $29.95.

A spokesman for PocketMac said that it is now available for free at (He added that the Web site still said that it costs $29.95 because the engineers in charge up updating the site are busy at MacWorld in San Francisco.)

In February, PocketMac will be available as a free download from the BlackBerry Web site.

"At some point, it will be included with every box," said Tim Goggin, a spokesman for IAA.

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PocketMac allows for synchronization with several Macintosh applications, including Entourage, Address Book, iCal, Now Contact, Now Up-To-Date and Stickies.

Though this type of software has been around for awhile, Thursday marks the first time RIM has made available its own version.

Apple is aware of the PocketMac for BlackBerry software, but is not playing an active role in its development or distribution.

This software creates a rather tantalizing connection to corporate customers for Apple Computers, which has enjoyed success catering to many market segments, but not the corporate set, where computers based on Microsofts operating system dominate.

But what could be more corporate than the BlackBerry, the device so ubiquitous among the road warrior set that its dubbed "The CrackBerry"?

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"This helps expand the reach of the BlackBerry to another important market," Mark Guibert, a RIM vice president, is quoted as saying in an announcement concerning the software.

The Apple/BlackBerry connection is a second major bridge RIM forged Thursday. Its also planning to add into its devices instant messaging, Internet search and mapping features from search giant Google Inc.

RIM is motivated to wheel and deal as such because its facing increasingly stronger competition for mobile corporate e-mail revenues from Nokia, the worlds largest cell phone maker, and Palm Inc.s Treo handheld, which offers many of the same features as RIMs devices.

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