Thursday, March 05, 2009

Good Technology, Vendor of Mobile Sync for Handheld PDAs is Sold Yet Again

It is not easy being a mobile synchronization technology vendor. Synchronization is a technology category that is about as sexy as the kitchen drain pipe. Yes, it is needed, but do you want to schedule a board level meeting and use up precious IT budget on it? Obviously not many companies. For the second time in 2 years Good Technology was sold and the price goes down each time.

"Mobile push synchronization platform and service provider Visto acquired Motorola's Good Technology Feb. 24. Motorola acquired Good in 2007 for more than $400 million in hopes of challenging Research In Motion's dominance in the enterprise mobile e-mail market. "

[Opinion Alert] People get excited about cool mobile gadgets, PDAs, Smartphones and manly rugged handhelds with integrated GPS, digital cameras and powerful mobile software applications that make their work and life easier and more enjoyable in an obvious way. The problem with synchronization software is that it is the drain pipe and no one cares about it unless it doesn't work. [/End of Opinion Alert]

"We believe that this transaction is in the best interest of our customers, employees and shareholders," said Gene Delaney, president of Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions. [translation] No one was buying it.

When an individual purchases an iPhone, do they walk around the Apple Store with the hip, pierced and scruffy-faced Apple nerd pondering the merits of various synchronization technologies? Of course not! They want the cool smartphone to work and they want the provider of the device to figure out synchronization. That is Apple's and AT&T's strategy (and most others) and you can see this strategy in Google's recent license agreement with Microsoft for their Activesync. Google, with their growing suite of mobile applications, are hiding synchronization in their cloud computing environment. It is just there and available. The user is not spending a lot of time thinking about it.

Perhaps that was Motorola's original plan. but Good Technology was competing with RIM's world of Blackberrys, Microsoft and Apple. That is not a list of competitors I would want to be facing and betting $400 million against. I must say that the person behind that purchase must have studied Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and took it to heart.

Good luck Visto!