Motorola announced on Friday it would acquire Good Technology, the software firm that provides the mobile e-mail application on Motorola's Q smartphone and on many competing devices.
Motorola hopes the move can help it gain more customers among mobile professionals, who need enterprise-level security and management. Good Technology sells software for wireless messaging, data access and handheld security.
Motorola, the world's second-largest mobile phone manufacturer, could also use the acquisition to pressure its rivals that also use this popular technology. In addition to Motorola, handset vendors licensing Good's software include High Tech Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Nokia, Palm, Samsung Electronics Co. and Symbol Technologies (which was also acquired in September by Motorola).
Spokesmen from Palm and HP declined to comment on the implications of the move, but Motorola insisted it would continue to work with its customers.
"Good Technology's offerings will not be limited to Motorola. Motorola will build upon Good Technology's customer and carrier relationships by maintaining its multi-device strategy," said Juli Burda, a Motorola spokeswoman.
Likewise, Good Technology quickly moved to reassure its customers that their software licenses would remain valid.
"Please be assured that you will continue to receive the same high standard of service and support you receive from us today. You can also continue to purchase Good through our carrier reseller partners or from Good directly, and activate users just as you do now," Good said in a letter to customers.
Motorola did not disclose how much it paid for the company, but said it expected the deal to close in early 2007. Motorola plans to offer jobs to all 470 employees, Burda said.
In the long run, Motorola could reach new customers outside its usual business users by extending Good Technology's software to power mobile applications beyond e-mail, according to a statement from Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's mobile devices business.
Good Technology's current flagship products are Good Mobile Messaging, Good Mobile Intranet and Good Mobile Defense. Together, they allow corporations to link their enterprise networks to employees' smartphones, working with platforms such as IBM's Lotus Domino and Microsoft's Exchange.
Companies using Good Mobile Messaging as their wireless messaging standard include Dell, Electronic Data Systems and Visa International Service Association. Good Technology supports wireless handheld platforms using the Palm, Symbian or Windows Mobile operating systems.