Purely Speculation But … Are RIM and Apple Talking?

VoIP blogger and Italian IP-communications entrepreneur Luca Filigheddu, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at eComm 2008, reports on speculation that RIM is looking to build a developer team focused on the iPhone. He points to a post on Apple Insider by Aidan Malley who has become aware of a new internal job listing at RIM that suggests RIM is “willing to jump the fence and write applications for the iPhone”:

Among the requirements are a very strong emphasis on existing experience with Mac development, including programming in both Cocoa and Objective C as well as user interface design.

Web experience with Javascript, XML, and other functions is also essential. Experiences with developing for the Mac’s Sync Services feature and interfacing with Bluetooth and USB devices are both considered assets, according to the company.

If Apple wants to enter the enterprise market with a “push” wireless email application, consider what it takes to come up to RIM’s level of enterprise market penetration with their Blackberry Enterprise Server:

  • over 200,000 installations on MS Exchange, Lotus Notes (and even Novell GroupWare)
  • over 200 business rules supported
  • security that has been endorsed by NATO, as well as government organizations in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Austria, Australia and New Zealand
  • relationships with over 300 wireless carriers
  • Blackberry patents on push email
  • a range of products: Pearl, Curve and 88×0 series
  • a broad range of third party applications, many of which have an enterprise focus

Also check out Al Sacco’s Top 10 Reasons Why the iPhone is NO Blackberry over at Crackberry.com.

On the other hand we hear rumors of a Blackbery 9000 with touch screen technology – the iPhone’s strongest selling point.And surely a feature for which Apple has patents or patent applications outstanding. RIM has already negotiated deals with Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Palm for its Blackberry Connect which essentially licenses RIM’s wireless push email technology for use on certain of their devices such as the Nokia E-series smartphones.

I would take Luca’s speculation on RIM and Apple negotiations one step further. Each side has technology that the other requires to succeed in their respective quests for market share (and to mutually grow the overall smartphone market). If there are such negotiations under way, they’re about cross licensing each other’s patents to achieve their goals without ending up in messy and costly litigation.

Hat tip to Dan York for pointing me to Luca’s post.

Full disclosure: when I was employed in the magnetic resonance spectroscopy business three decades ago (used for determining molecular structure in chemical and biochemical analysis), I was peripherally involved in a patent settlement where both my employer and their major competitor ended up resolving some technology-critical patent disputes through a cross-licensing because each party only had part of a comprehensive solution required to advance the use of the technology. Much of that technology has since been licensed by GE, Siemens and others to develop the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Tags: Blackberry, RIM, iPhone, Luca Filigheddu, Apple Insider, Aidan Malley, Blackberry Connect, Al Sacco, Crackberry.com

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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