Motorola Selling Off Good Technology

Motorola purchased the mobile e-mail company two years ago to better compete in the enterprise market with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.
Motorola may be completely rethinking its mobile e-mail strategy as the company on Tuesday said it will sell its Good Technology software group to Visto.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports suggest the selling price was far less than the $500 million the handset maker paid two years ago. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of February.

"Visto's acquisition of Good will allow Motorola to continue to concentrate on providing best-in-class business-critical applications, secure management platforms, and mobility services that empower the individual with the right information at the right time to streamline business processes and improve results," said Gene Delaney, president of Motorola's enterprise mobility solutions, in a statement.

The handset maker purchased the mobile e-mail company two years ago to better compete in the enterprise market with Research In Motion, but the BlackBerry line has continued to maintain a strong grip on the business market. Good eventually was merged with the Motorola's Symbol Technologies unit, and it failed to gain much traction with enterprise customers.

Motorola isn't the only one to change its mobile e-mail approach, as cell phone manufacturer Nokia recently canceled its own service despite spending $430 million to purchase Intellisync. Nokia instead partnered with Microsoft and IBM to provide corporate e-mail for its handsets.

For the privately held Visto, the move will enable it to expand its presence in the enterprise e-mail market. The company will be able to provide wireless managing, mobile e-mail, mobile VPN data access, and handset security to customers in more than 100 countries on more than 400 devices.

Rival Synchronica said the deal is an odd fit, as Visto and Good appear to have too many overlapping properties.

"Integrating two proprietary mobile e-mail systems into a single platform will be a technical nightmare," said Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte. "And if Visto continues to support Good as a separate product, where is the synergy other than additional revenue and cost?"

Mobile e-mail and on-the-go business applications are becoming increasingly important ways to boost employees' productivity, but steps must be taken to secure sensitive data. InformationWeek compiled a report of the best practices for supporting smartphones, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).