Visto, a major supplier of wireless e-mail and Internet information access, just announced the completion of its acquisition of Good Technology from Motorola. Going forward, the combined companies will operate together under the name Good Technology. Here, Knowledge Center mobile and wireless analyst J. Gerry Purdy discusses how the result of Visto's acquisition of Good Technology could provide consumers and enterprise customers with the best phone-based e-mail and mobile information management solution out there.
have to hand it to Doug Brackbill. He's been relentlessly focused on
mobile e-mail for most of the past 20 years. Some call him the "father
of e-mail" since he was the creator of MCI Mail back in the
pre-Internet days. He created one of the first wireless e-mail services
when he was with SkyTel. And then he became a founder of Visto that had
a vision back in the late 1990s to make your e-mail available
everywhere: on your desktop, on the Web and on your mobile phone.
Doug left Visto for a few years, but then returned in early 2008 as
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. Visto had made a
lot of progress over the years, working with wireless operators
providing subscribers with e-mail and access to other mobile
information services. But the company was still primarily focused
on consumers. RIM BlackBerry and Motorola Good Technology led the
market in the enterprise.
Then, a series of events occurred over the past few months which
gave Visto a chance to successfully play in the enterprise space: Visto
had filed a lawsuit against Motorola regarding patent infringement
claims regarding Good Technology; Motorola was hemorrhaging badly,
reeling from not having a successful sequel to the Motorola RAZR cell
phone, and Motorola declared that they wanted to focus more on wireless
I suspect that the acquisition of Good Technology came about in a
rather straightforward manner: Visto had claims against Motorola that
might have required a large settlement at a time when Motorola was
losing money. Visto began talking about acquiring Good Technology to
complement their consumer focus. Motorola agreed to offer Good
Technology to Visto for reasonable terms that included settlement of
all claims and some downstream royalties paid over a reasonable period.
Bam! Just like that, Visto gets access to the second most successful
corporate wireless e-mail service behind BlackBerry, and they retain
Motorola as a distribution partner. The deal is so good that Visto has
adopted Good Technology as its brand going forward.
Just a few years ago, all the independent e-mail services were being
"gobbled up" by wireless handset makers as a maneuver to migrate from
non-recurring handset sales to recurring revenue from services such as
e-mail-just as RIM was doing with BlackBerry. First, Motorola purchased
Good Technology. Then, Nokia bought Intellisync. And finally, Sybase
acquired e-mail and services provider Extended Systems with its
OneBridge e-mail solution.
However, by the fall of 2008, Nokia had determined that it was
difficult for them to make inroads into the enterprise email market. As
a result, Nokia announced they were going to shut down their enterprise
e-mail products and services. Instead, they decided to only offer
e-mail support to consumers via their Ovi (their new services portal).
By the end of 2008, the recession hit Motorola particularly hard
because it didn't make a quick transition from their previously
successful RAZR phone. While enterprise markets are good for Motorola
via their acquisition of Symbol Technologies (with their strong, rugged
device portfolio), they decide to unload their Good Technology wireless
e-mail offering for the enterprise to Visto. It is interesting to note
that Good Technology is located in Silicon Valley. The folks at Good
reported to Motorola in the Schaumburg area of Chicago, but with the
spin out to Visto, the assets are owned again by a Silicon Valley