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RIM adds Siemens to BlackBerry licensee list

Siemens said it will become the latest company to license BlackBerry technology from wireless e-mail company Research In Motion Ltd. The news lends further credibility to industry watchers who argue RIM eventually may drop its device business to focus solely on its licensing and server efforts.

Siemens said it will introduce a BlackBerry-capable mobile phone by the fourth quarter of this year. The company said it will install RIM’s software on its new 65 software platform for mobile phones, which it uses in its high-end multimedia devices. The software will allow Siemens’ phone users to access their corporate e-mail through RIM servers. RIM has announced similar licensing agreements with the likes of Nokia Corp., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications L.P. and Motorola Inc.

“We are pleased to work with Siemens to offer BlackBerry e-mail, calendar and browser applications on Siemens mobile phones,” said Don Morrison, RIM’s chief operating officer. “BlackBerry connectivity on Siemens mobile phones will enable users to stay connected with e-mail and other data applications and allow IT departments and carriers to leverage their existing investments in the BlackBerry platform.”

RIM has scored major successes with its BlackBerry wireless e-mail offering. Indeed, the company’s stock jumped to more than $100 per share following the Siemens announcement. RIM has primarily tied its server offering to its BlackBerry devices, although its new BlackBerry Connect licensing program allows other device makers to install the company’s push-based wireless e-mail software into their own devices. Thus, some have wondered if RIM will eventually quit its device business to focus solely on server and licensing revenues. RIM has in the past said it will continue to build devices as long as it feels necessary.

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