HANOVER, Germany--IBM and Symbian announced a partnership
Thursday to work on technology that will allow people to access their work
e-mail, calendar and corporate information via their cell phones.
Under the agreement, IBM is making available its DB2 Everyplace database
software and Lotus' Mobile Notes to Symbian "smart phones" such
as Nokia's new Communicator 9210. DB2 software stores and collects Web and
corporate information, and Lotus Notes lets employees complete forms,
participate in work collaboration and access sales force automation tools
using a mobile version of the PC browser.
The IBM-Symbian technology will also include mobile device management
software from IBM's Tivoli Systems, which lets wireless devices access
corporate intranets and Internet applications.
The alliance marks IBM's latest push into the wireless market aimed at
employees, and will enable workers to access their personal office records
and database information from their Symbian smart phones, the companies
"Those things they can do in the office, we want to make available when
they're on the road," said IBM's Val Rahmani at a news conference Thursday
at the CeBit trade show.
The move also furthers Symbian's efforts to gain market share against
Microsoft and others in the cell phone operating system market.
Mark Edwards, senior vice president of Symbian's global marketing and sales
effort, said he hopes the deal will help to make sure Symbian is the "de
facto standard...operating system" for cell phones. Twenty Symbian handsets
are in development, he said, mentioning Nokia's new 9210 announced Wednesday.
The cellular phone market is growing at a record pace, with increasing
interest from large companies to connect their employees to corporate
databases. According to market research firm The Yankee Group, there will be
more than 1 billion mobile phone owners by 2003, and about 60 percent of
those phones will have Net access.
Over the last several years, IBM has poured significant resources into
developing products aimed at the enterprise wireless market. Last March, the
company unveiled its WebSphere
Everyplace Suite, a set of tools for developing and managing content for
wireless devices such as cell phones and Palm handhelds. IBM also provides
wireless data access to its DB2 database, Lotus Domino software, Microsoft
Exchange and Oracle databases.
Thursday's announcement with Symbian only furthers the company's efforts at
reaching the growing market of businesses seeking to wirelessly connect
their employees to corporate databases.
"IBM and Lotus have about half of the market for messaging and
collaborating," said Dave Nelson, an analyst with Giga Information Group.
"There's a large install base of about 70 million players worldwide that
they could impact."
News.com's Stephen Shankland reported from Hanover, and Cecily Barnes
reported from San Francisco.