Motorola Set to Shake Up Wireless E-mail Market

The inert wireless e-mail landscape may get a jolt now that Motorola Inc. has agreed to acquire Good Technology Inc., setting the stage for the vendor to go head-to-head with market leaders Research in Motion Inc. and Palm Inc.

This will dramatically reshape the wireless e-mail marketplace, said analyst Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates, in a brief. The acquisition, he noted, will have the effect of pushing Palm into an alliance with Microsoft Corp. while weakening its position, and will add competitive pressure to market dominator RIM. It will also bring Motorola up to speed with its mobile device competitor Nokia, which last year acquired wireless e-mail app provider Intellisync in a somewhat ineffective bid to break into the enterprise market.

It now appears that [RIMs] primary competitors are Nokia and Motorola, said Gold. Both now have a more complete offering (devices and software), to match RIM.

The biggest impact may be to Palm. While Motorola has an existing business relationship with Good to use Good Mobile Messaging on the Motorola Q, Good has become a leader in the wireless e-mail space mainly because of its status as the e-mail application provider for Palms Treo devices. Now that Motorola has taken Good under its umbrella, Palm will be left looking elsewhere to complete its e-mail package. I do not think Palm will be keen to open the kimono to Good for future products, said Gold. I think this gives Palm more incentive to promote the Windows platform over the Palm OS, as Windows Mobile does not require a third-party client.

From a corporate strategy standpoint, it fits with Motorolas new focus on the enterprise market, as demonstrated by its planned acquisition of Symbol Technologies Inc., which was announced in September. Symbol, known as the enterprise mobility player that supplies Wal-Mart with RFID products, will become the cornerstone of Motorola’s Networks and Enterprise business when that deal closes next year. Now, a play in the wireless e-mail, security and management space will deepen Motorolas enterprise portfolio even further.

Goods wireless messaging, data access and handheld security offerings — used by more than 12,000 enterprises around the world — provide productivity solutions for mobile professionals, along with enterprise-level device security and management. Motorola will build upon this by packaging in its devices and assets from the Symbol acquisition.

The addition of Good Technology will advance Motorola’s vision of seamless mobility,” said Ron Garriques, president of Motorolas mobile devices business, in a statement. Good Technology’s solutions, talent and customers complement Motorola’s business and extend our ability to deliver compelling products and services to enterprise customers.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and other customary conditions, is expected to close in early 2007.

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