German enterprise software giant SAP has launched a prototype of a cut-down version of one if its business software products for BlackBerrys as part of a deepening partnership with the device's maker, Research In Motion (RIM).
RIM Global Alliances vice president Jeff McDowell said that the mobile broadband specialist was also exploring partnerships with SAP's rivals including its major competitor Oracle.
"SAP is the biggest, the most innovative and the most interesting of the two companies. If other companies pick-up what we've done with this platform and go and do it themselves they're more than welcome to," Mr McDowell said.
Both companies have invited customers to test a version of SAP's customer relationship management software designed for BlackBerrys. SAP said it was also working on business software for other enterprise software platforms including ERP and human resources.
However, the two companies would not reveal details plans to share revenue from the new product.
Mr McDowell confirmed that the product would be sold by SAP but declined to reveal details of how RIM would generate income from the arrangement.
It's also not clear who would bear responsibility for corporate losses in the event of network outages that have struck RIM's mobile email service in recent years.
Mr McDowell said the move into the corporate applications arena was not an acknowledgement that the company stood to lose share in the mobile email market. He said growing availability of email over mobile broadband had not affected demand for RIM's BlackBerry service.
"It's certainly not a defensive strategy because we think we're losing market share in other areas. It's purely an expansion strategy into new things that compliment email.
"We understand that email is not the only thing that people want to do in this market and now we're at a point where we can actually do something about it because companies like SAP understand the power of accessing this data in a mobile context."