Wireless push e-mail provider Seven Networks Inc. is set to acquire its rival Smartner Information Systems Ltd. this week.
The move will allow Seven to expand its geographic footprint, especially into Europe, where Smartner, based in Helsinki, Finland, has made inroads with its wireless push e-mail offering.
The acquisition will also expand Sevens partnerships with handset manufacturers and wireless carriers, bringing more options to enterprises looking to equip their mobile work forces, said Bill Nguyen, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Seven, in Redwood City, Calif.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"The big thing for enterprise customers is that they always complain, We love the solution, but we want it with this network and with this device," said Nguyen.
Seven provides its wireless e-mail technology through wireless carriers, which offer enterprises the service either as a hosted version or as a behind-the-firewall server deployment. Seven also works with handset manufacturers to integrate its client into their devices, and the acquisition will deepen its relationships with major device makers such as Nokia Corp.
"One of the areas Smartners been good in is the development its done with Nokias OS platform, so as Nokia comes out with more enterprise-class devices, Seven will benefit there," said Eugene Signorini, an analyst with Yankee Group Research Inc., in Boston.
Competition among providers of wireless push e-mail—which Research In Motion Ltd. first popularized with its BlackBerry device and Enterprise Server—is heating up, and now Microsoft Corp. is poised to turn up the heat further by providing push e-mail capabilities from its Exchange Server to Pocket PC-based devices.
"Everyone has to feel a little threatened. Microsoft is an 800-pound gorilla in any space they enter," said Signorini. "The question is, Will the experience Microsoft delivers through its own Exchange platform and by licensing ActiveSync render everyone else obsolete?"
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