IBM and Nokia add Notes email to phones

Lotus Notes email

Often overshadowed by widespread for rival Microsoft Exchange, users of Lotus Notes will soon be able to manage their mail remotely using handsets from Nokia.

The Finnish phone maker has cut a deal with IBM to add Lotus Notes email support to its S60-based Symbian smartphones, a potential user base of 80 million people.

The deal is Nokia's latest effort to combat competition from BlackBerry maker RIM and Apple in the corporate smartphone market. In September Nokia signed a similar deal with Microsoft to add Exchange push support to its phones.

"With this partnership we are able to mobilise close to 90 per cent of corporate emails without any extra investments from corporations," said Ilari Nurmi, a vice president at Nokia.

"A lot of companies have servers in place and a lot of Nokia devices on the premises. It's an important factor in cost-conscious times," Nurmi added.

Nokia dropped development of its own corporate email product this year, choosing to look for partners instead while focusing on developing phones for business users to better challenge RIM. Nokia also dropped its BlackBerry email client for S60 phones earlier this year.

"Since revising its business strategy, Nokia has sharpened its focus and is turning up the heat on RIM and Microsoft, particularly in the SMB segment," said Geoff Blaber, analyst with research firm CCS Insight.

"Adding support for Lotus Notes is a huge step forwards. The move gives Nokia the capability to target a much broader market and a segment where RIM has dominated to date."

The announcement comes against a backdrop of falling demand for mobile phones worldwide as the global economy falters, with Nokia warning last week that it expects industry volumes in 2009 to contract.

Some analysts have tapped smartphones as the market segment with the best hope for growth in 2009.

In the third quarter Nokia sold 1.1 million of its new sleek, full-keyboard E71 phones, outselling RIM's business user-targeted Blackberry Bold by five-to-one, according to Nokia. The Bold was also hit with reports of technical problems that led to operator Orange withdrawing the product from sale temporarily.

Last week Nokia unveiled a stripped-down version of the E71, the Nokia E63, which is expected to begin shipping in the coming weeks for almost half the E71s estimated retail price.


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