This afternoon, IBM and RIM jointly announced that new Lotus features and developer tools are heading to the Blackberry platform.
Apparently, Lotusphere attendees will get to see what's in store first-hand via sneak previews and demonstrations, catching a glimpse of what's to come from the IBM/RIM collaboration. The joint venture stems as a response to the "mobility explosion," as IBM's Institute for Business Value foresees a whopping one billion mobile Internet users by 2011, and a "significant shift in the way the majority of people will interact with the Web over the next decade." In other words, IBM wants a piece of the action, and Research in Motion's Blackberry platform seemed to be the likely candidate.
"Team collaboration shouldn't stall when employees are on the road or away from their desk," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion. "RIM and IBM are strengthening the BlackBerry platform for Lotus with a portfolio of enterprise social networking and collaboration capabilities that will make BlackBerry smartphones even more effective in mobilizing businesses around the globe."
So what's the big deal about Lotus? According to RIM, the new features will help customers find expertise, form teams, share information, and stay in touch in real time. Consumers will have mobile access to Open Document Format (ODF) files, based on IBM Lotus Symphony documents. The IBM Lotus Quickr Web 2.0-based team software claims to help individuals find, access, share and work with business documents, photos and videos. There will also be enhanced IBM Lotus Connections functionality for access to activities, blogs, and communities.
"The new Lotus collaboration features and developer tools on the BlackBerry platform will deliver productivity beyond the office extending IBM software and services so that individuals can access all of the resources they need to keep their business moving, anytime, anywhere," said Bob Picciano, general manager, IBM Lotus Software.
Additionally, IBM and RIM is also previewing Blackberry platform support for IBM Lotus Domino Designer and XPages. IBM Lotus Notes, Domino and Sametime unified communications and collaboration software is now also compatible with the new BlackBerry Storm smartphone.
RIM also announced that it is now taking developer submissions for the BlackBerry Application Storefront, moving the company one step towards competing against Apple's iTunes App store. RIM says that the Blackberry Storefront will be available soon, however Verizon Wireless has already taken the initiative by launching an applications store of its own (VZAppZone), although at the time of this writing, the storefront only features current games, ringtones, wallpapers and a few other handy applications.
Presently RIM is still working to obtain Certicom Corp., with the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice issuing an order prohibiting the Cdn$1.50 per common share offer given by RIM months ago. "RIM continues to be disappointed by the actions of Certicom's directors in pursuing court proceedings," said the company in a press release. "As a result of the court order, Certicom shareholders will not be able to accept the Offer, and if another offer materializes for Certicom, RIM cannot, without Certicom's prior written consent, participate in an auction for Certicom. RIM believes this could hinder the value maximization process undertaken by Certicom."
RIM said it would review the court's reasons and consider its alternatives, including a possible appeal.