Nokia and IBM on Thursday launched IBM Lotus Notes support for Nokia's S60-based mobile phones. That means millions of Lotus Notes users will be able to access their e-mail on Nokia devices in December.
Lotus Notes has almost 140 million licensed users. The announcement opens the door for more than 80 million Nokia S60 3rd Edition devices to connect to corporate e-mail accounts through Lotus Domino Server software known as Lotus Notes Traveler. The software provides real-time access to e-mail, calendars, address books, journals and to-do lists.
According to Soren Petersen, senior vice president at Nokia, the deal with Big Blue is another affirmation of the company's business mobility vision: To establish partnerships with the world's leading enterprise vendors.
"This collaboration means nearly 90 percent of business e-mail can be mobilized with Nokia devices, without needing to purchase additional servers, middleware or licenses," Petersen said. "With the presence, position and technology that IBM has in the corporate e-mail market, they are an essential partner for us in enterprise."
The Rise of Mobile Devices
According to IBM's Institute for Business Value, this year, for the first time, more people in the world will have a mobile device than a landline telephone. In fact, Big Blue predicts one billion mobile Web users by 2011 and a significant shift in the way the majority of people will interact with the Web over the next decade. Mobile devices already outnumber television sets, credit cards and personal computers.
While Nokia casts the announcement as affirmation of its vision, IBM calls it a major development in its efforts to expand mobile support for the Lotus software portfolio. Secure connection to e-mail is an example of IBM's Tomorrow at Work, an initiative
that examines a changing work environment and anticipates trends in technology, business, society and culture.
Lotus Sametime for instant messaging and unified communications, Lotus Connections for enterprise social networking, and Lotus Quickr for social-content sharing are among the other IBM Lotus technologies that can be mobilized for anytime, anywhere work.
"We are literally freeing millions of people using Nokia's Symbian platform from having to rely on a desktop or laptop to access their important business communications," said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of IBM Lotus Software. "Working with the market leader like Nokia is a natural fit for attaining IBM's goals of maintaining the flow of business, regardless of time, distance or location -- all for no additional charge for both of our companies' current customers, and a new opportunity for new customers."
Nokia's U.S. Carrier Issues
Nokia is transitioning its mobile e-mail role from a middleware provider to leveraging its past work with Intellisynch to move into consumer e-mail clients. Although the company pulled out of the business middleware market, Nokia's goal is to ensure its handsets can access corporate e-mail servers, according to Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis.
"Nokia turned its attention first to Microsoft. Now they are working with IBM," Greengart said. "What's interesting is Nokia's E series phones aren't available through regular carrier channels, although they are all certified to work in the U.S. on AT&T and T-Mobile's networks."
As Greengart sees it, Nokia needs carrier distribution for its E series phones. Currently, the only Nokia sold through a U.S. carrier that would fall under this agreement is the 6650, a clamshell Symbian smartphone available at AT&T for $69.
"Nokia's business-specific phones like the E71 can be purchased directly from Nokia or online in the U.S., but you can't go to into an AT&T or T-Mobile store and ask for it," Greengart said. "Nokia claims some large corporations buy them directly from Nokia with volume discounts, and that may be true. But in the U.S. Nokia is far behind the leaders in the business handset space, which would be RIM and HTC and Motorola."