Palm, BEA in enterprise partnership

Palm’s Solutions Group and application infrastructure provider BEA have announced a partnership to integrate their products for enterprise customers.

At the heart of the deal is an agreement to use Palm’s new Reliable Transport (RT) technology to facilitate the exchange of XML data between Palm handhelds and BEA server applications. RT has been developed as a key part of Palm’s enterprise strategy and is also being used as part of a similar agreement with IBM. BEA developers will be able to create handheld applications which work directly with enterprise databases built using WebLogic Server 7.0 and WebLogic Workshop. Palm will work with BEA to supply tools and software to simplify the process of client development.

“BEA WebLogic Workshop can deliver an industry-leading framework for reliable web services capabilities to our enterprise customers,” said Byron Sebastian, vice president and general manager, BEA WebLogic Workshop and BEA WebLogic Portal, BEA Systems. “With the Palm relationship, we’re in a position to enable enterprises to integrate all their applications on top of a unified, simplified, extensible and mobile application infrastructure platform.” Todd Bradley, president and chief operating officer, Solutions Group, Palm, Inc., added: “This partnership with BEA signifies the high degree of commitment Palm has to provide enterprise customers with what they need to extend their core business data and applications to wherever their employees are working. We believe mobility will be a key driver for successful businesses in the future. We are particularly attracted to BEA because of its commitment to industry standards and its strong track record of innovation.”


Palm is well aware that Microsoft has won considerable mindshare for the Pocket PC platform in the enterprise and that it needs to show it can deliver on areas such as security, remote management and database integration.

Palm should find it relatively easy to pick up points here for the simple reason that anyone whose products compete with Microsoft’s enterprise server platforms will want to do business with them. Microsoft’s diverse interests across handheld, desktop and server platform are a double-edged sword. Certainly it can leverage the feature set of its handheld devices to sell more server applications, but the world doesn’t run exclusively on technology from Redmond and for every third party application Microsoft chooses not to support in Pocket PC, several prospective enterprise customers will choose a Palm solution which better supports their existing infrastructure.

Palm once had a dream of building a dedicated enterprise software and services division, but that quickly turned into a nightmare when its takeover of Extended Systems was scuppered by a slump in Palm’s share price. Companies like RIM generate significantly higher margins by selling a complete package of devices, software and services, but Palm could turn an apparent weakness to strength by embracing open technologies and developing the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise partnership programme.

Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.

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