RealTime IT News

Nokia Provides Good Link to E-Mail

Good Technology announced a deal with wireless handset manufacturer Nokia to extend GoodLink to Nokia's Communicators and enterprise-oriented smartphones.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Good's GoodLink is a software/service offering for wireless messaging and data access. It includes access to Microsoft Exchange-based e-mail, contacts, calendar, notes and tasks, as well as to applications for customer relationship management , enterprise resource planning and supply chain management.

The companies will work together to engineer GoodLink for Nokia's Communicator line of mini keyboard devices, as well as others using the Symbian platform.

"This agreement for the Symbian platform puts GoodLink support on the three major wireless platforms," said Sue Forbes, vice president of marketing for Good.

Good competes aggressively with Research in Motion, purveyor of the Blackberry mobile devices and messaging services. Both companies use the same stratagem of locating a wireless messaging gateway inside the corporate firewall; both sell messaging services separate from connectivity but often go to market with wireless network operators.

In 2003, Good partnered with Microsoft to integrate GoodLink with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and its ActiveSync environment. Soon after, it brought on board Handspring (now owned by PalmOne ) and Cingular to offer GoodLink on the Treo mobile device line, which uses the Palm operating system.

In 2004, Good deepened the Microsoft relationship by providing access to Windows applications via GoodLink. Of course, Microsoft offers mobile access through its own Exchange Server 2003.

"Microsoft does have some synchronization capabilities," Forbes said, "but they're limited only to Exchange 2003 implementations, and it does not have the capabilities that GoodLink does in security and management."

The industry giants are getting wise to the fact that Research in Motion is starting to play in their backyards," Forbes said. "They're often seen as the leader in the marketplace, with a vertically integrated proprietary system. We believe that as the marketplace grows, it transitions to a more industry-standard approach. Now we see that actually happening."

In fact, the software is the least part of the corporate wireless messaging system, said Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin. "The fact is, there are a lot of solutions out there. Form and function are the biggest issues. You have to be comfortable with the device, be able to read the screen well. Also, you've got to have very good coverage."

For example, Bajarin said that palmOne's Treo line has become the hot-selling corporate mobile device. Treo 650 users can choose e-mail services not only from Good, but also from Seven Networks, Visto Mobile, Intellisync, OneBridge and Notify. They also can access their employer's Exchange Server 2003 directly, thanks to a deal between palmOne and Microsoft that provides access through VersaMail.

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said that most enterprises wont be tempted by wireless e-mail offerings from the carriers.

"Carriers develop offerings but are not regarded seriously by enterprises," he said. "They have weak support staff and sales people who don't know who to talk to or support the enterprise. The carrier options will find few opportunities in the enterprise. They are not respected nor do they understand how to gain favor."

At the same time, enterprise users are increasingly demanding devices that provide both wireless e-mail and telephony, according to Dulaney. "Every wireless e-mail device must have voice," he said.

Meanwhile, Dulaney will not count RIM out. Nor will Bajarin.

"I still think Blackberry and RIM have a strong position," Bajarin said. "They'll stay competitive."