* Sees mobile email market focus shifting towards consumers
* Says RIM readying Blackberry support for Nokia phones
By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent
HELSINKI, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE is seeing a good take-up of its new messaging service, the top cellphone vendor’s latest challenge to Blackberry-maker Research in Motion’s (RIM) dominance in mobile email, a Nokia executive told Reuters on Monday.
RIM RIM.TORIMM.O created the market for corporate mobile email and its dominant position has protected it from Nokia’s attempts to crack the market in recent years.
However, “Clearly, things are heading towards the consumer market and that’s where Nokia has its strength,” Tom Furlong, head of Nokia’s messaging services, told Reuters.
RIM has lately focused on developing its consumer offering.
Nokia — which controls close to 40 percent of the global cellphone market — last month opened its Ovi email offering, targeting first-time email users, and a messaging service, which enables the user to combine many different emails into a cellphone.
“The service is up, people are utilising it, we are getting good traction and good follow up,” Furlong said, adding the company expects to announce its first revenue-sharing agreements with operators for the messaging service within few months.
“With the Nokia messaging service, we are going after consumers, we are not going head-to-head with enterprise e-mail. We are trying to put mobile email to the masses, masses of people around the globe,” he said.
Nokia dropped development of its own corporate email product last year, choosing to partner with Microsoft (MSFT.O) and IBM (IBM.N) instead while focusing on developing phones for business users to better challenge RIM.
Nokia says the two deals enable it to mobilise close to 90 percent of corporate emails without any extra investment from corporations.
“I think that probably the dominant theme in 2009 in enterprises is going to be — do we have to be spending that much money on that service,” Furlong said.
When focusing on partnering with Microsoft and IBM for corporate mobile email, Nokia last year dropped support for the Blackberry email service, but Furlong said Nokia users would in future be able to use the service again.
“We are in the interim period of time when we have dropped support ourselves, and Blackberry is readying support for their service on Nokia devices,” he said.
(Editing by Simon Jessop)
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