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RIM snares Nokia, Palm as licensees

Don't mess with the Mini Me QWERTY

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Research In Motion Ltd took several important steps towards securing its future last week, signing potentially lucrative licensing deals with three of the mobile computing world's most prominent names.

In what is almost certainly RIM's highest profile signing to date, Nokia is licensing "certain BlackBerry software in conjunction with Nokia products on a global basis" from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

The deal neatly complements Espoo, Finland-based Nokia's existing email-capable products and services, including the Nokia One Mobile Connectivity Service and Nokia Activ Server 2.1, both of which are based on WAP. It is also good news for RIM, which gains the world's number one handset manufacturer as a supporter, potentially opening up huge business opportunities beyond its BlackBerry faithful.

Less significant overall, but still an important ally, RIM has licensed some of its micro-keyboard patents to PDA leader Palm Inc's Solutions Group. By striking a deal with RIM over design features of its forthcoming Tungsten W combination PDA/phone, Milpitas, California-based Palm is avoiding the law suit served by RIM on rival Handspring over patent infringement on its Treo Communicator devices.

That dispute was itself resolved last week when Mountain View, California-based Handspring also licensed some of RIM's keyboard patents. The value of RIM's licensing agreements was not disclosed.

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