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Palm continues enterprise march with BEA

The handheld maker announces a long-term deal with enterprise software maker BEA Systems that continues Palm's push into the corporate market.

Handheld maker Palm announced on Tuesday a long-term deal with enterprise software maker BEA Systems that continues Palm's push into the corporate market.

The two companies are working together to help developers create mobile applications that let customers access corporate information on Palm handhelds. Milpitas, Calif.-based Palm will create device-side software and work with BEA, based in San Jose, Calif., so that the software can be used with BEA's WebLogic Server 7.0 and WebLogic Workshop products on the server side. Palm's new Reliable Transport technology will provide a secure channel for sending data between the server and the handhelds.

"The deal is about making it easy for customers to extend enterprise applications to Palm handhelds," said John Kiger, director of product marketing at BEA.

The companies declined to comment on the financial terms of the multiyear deal. Judy Kirkpatrick, Palm's vice president of strategic alliances, said no parts of the relationship are exclusive. Kiger added that BEA also is working with Blackberry-maker Research In Motion, but BEA had no other partnerships to announce at this time. BEA has dedicated engineering, marketing and business development people working on creating mobile applications for the corporate world.

IDC analyst Kevin Burden said given that a third of the application development community is in the BEA camp and can now write to Palm devices, the announcement could be a help to Palm and its efforts to get into the enterprise market.

Burden added that what may attract BEA developers to Palm devices is the Reliable Transport technology, which gives developers a secure wireless connection between servers and Palm handhelds. Palm acquired the technology when it bought ThinAirApps in late 2001, according to Burden.

The BEA relationship is similar to the deal Palm struck with IBM in late July, with the exception that the deal with BEA is targeted at WebLogic developers. Palm had promised to have agreements with four enterprise software companies by the end of the summer, and BEA is the final partner of the group. The other three include software maker Siebel Systems, health care consulting firm McKesson and technology gear maker IBM.

The partnerships are a means of boosting handheld sales to big businesses.