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BlackBerry Fund Shows Signs of Life

And there's a new Web site on the way. On Aug. 15, the BlackBerry Partners Fund plans to have a redesigned Web site to explain the application process for interested developers, offer information on the team managing the fund and provide information on how to contact the fund's members.

The fund is focusing on investments in areas such as mobile commerce, enterprise applications, communications technologies, social networking, media and entertainment, lifestyle and personal productivity and location-aware services to enhance navigation and mapping.

Although Research In Motion is a limited partner in the fund, the investments will not just be for applications for the BlackBerry platform. Developers will be encouraged to make programs and services available for other mobile platforms such as Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) Symbian and Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Windows Mobile.

"Research In Motion provides a lot of strategic and technical support to the fund," says Talbot. "But the fund is independent from them." RIM is not on the investment committee of the fund, and the fund has the freedom to operate and invest in the opportunities it sees, he says.

But RIM will not be left entirely out of the process. When the fund makes an investment in a company, it will become a member of the BlackBerry Alliance Program. The program is RIM's framework for offering marketing and development support for independent software makers.

That may not be enough, says Levy. With Apple raising the stakes with its iFund, RIM and the BlackBerry Partners Fund need get more aggressive in courting developers, he says

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