Motorola walks into Visto's "mobile email" patent suit by buying Good

by Andrew Orlowski | posted on 13 November 2006

Motorola has bought Good Technology for an undisclosed sum. Good is RIM's chief rival for corporate mobile messaging - the two have a bitter history of legal battles - and claims 12,000 corporate accounts. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; Good is privately held and does not disclose earnings information.

The move follows the trend of handset manufacturers snapping up horizontal vendors to build a vertical applications stack. Nokia snapped up Intellisync, which majors on mobile email, last year.

Motorola is only one of Good's customers, however, and one of the most recent licensees. When it launched in 2002 Good originally sold its own purpose-built handhelds, while Windows Mobile and Symbian have been relatively recent additions. Which means most of Good's customers run on PalmOS. Can these enterprise customers feel confident Motorola will support them?

Given Palm's increasing dependence on Microsoft, it's not as alarming as it might have been. Motorola unsuccessfully tried to acquire PalmSource, which makes the PalmOS, last year. Motorola's stewardship of the CodeWarrior compiler should give businesses which depend on rival handsets some confidence too. After Motorola acquired Metrowerks, it has continued to support versions for a variety of platforms - including Palm and Symbian.

Guy Kewney writes: This pushes Motorola into a lawsuit it almost certainly can't win unless it thinks it already has a deal done with email specialist Visto, which owns several "push email" patents.

There are also several patent trolls operating in this business, and RIM was recently forced to settle with one of them for a huge sum.

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