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SAP, RIM announce joint development deal

Thursday, May 8, 2008
SAP, RIM announce joint development deal
The Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry maker is developing a native SAP client for its handsets, which CEO Jim Balsillie says is a 'key element'
By: Brian Fonseca
Computerworld (US online) (DW)  (05 May 2008

AP [Nasdaq: SAP] and Research in Motion Ltd. [RIMM] have announced a joint development effort that will allow corporate customers to access SAP business applications from BlackBerry mobile devices.

The companies said SAP CRM will be the first application to run on the Blackberry. The companies said the application will be available on the BlackBerry in a few months. Officials were not more specific.

During a press briefing, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie said his company is currently developing a native BlackBerry smartphone client that will embed SAP CRM 2007 with BlackBerry applications including e-mail, address book and calendaring. He said the integrated technology will allow sales, marketing and IT personnel to enable event and alert-driven updates, augment productivity and create better data synchronization between business systems and mobile applications.

"When you go native, it's powerful for PIM [personal information management] and messaging. The nativeness is the key element," said Balsillie.

The companies have not yet devised a pricing model for the SAP CRM BlackBerry product.

The SAP-RIM announcement came just two days after SugarCRM Inc. began shipping a beta release of a new version of its Web-based customer relationship management software that adds support for the Blackberry and Apple Inc.'s iPhone device.


Balsillie noted that RIM also hopes to support the applications of other vendors on the mobile device, but no announcement is imminent. "Even if [SAP] offered us an exclusive, I wouldn't want it," he added.

SAP officials also noted that further down the road, it may let BlackBerry users access its hosted Business ByDesign service. Earlier this week, SAP cut back on its short-term ByDesign development plans after reporting poor first-quarter financial results.

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