Motorola has bought privately-held Good Technology, the providers of Goodlink push email technology, which competes against Blackberry’s patented push email technology.
This is a sign of things to come – handset manufacturers like Motorola are increasingly betting on converged devices that would be a cell phone, a PDA and an email device – all at the same time. And from Motorola’s standpoint, it would make sense to own the push technology it will deploy with its devices as opposed to licensing its use from Good.
From the standpoint of competition, Good’s main rival is Blackberry’s push technology. Of course, Blackberry’s technology has far greater number of users than Good – but then, the converged device market is also nascent and growing. And given Motorola’s strength as a device manufacturer, it could flood the market with converged devices targeting different segments of the user base with the Goodlink technology bundled – and pose serious competition to Blackberry – as opposed to the current scenario – where Goodlink technology is primarily used by Palm’s Treo line of products.
That leads to the question – What does it mean to Palm. Palm Treo line of products use Good Technology as its platform of choice – and it leaves the option of Palm possibly being acquired by Motorola – since Palm, by itself, doesnt have the platform to offer Push email functionality. Palm could, of course, continue its partnership with Good technology – but it would have competitive implications in terms of the overall integration of Good with Palm products as opposed to Motorola’s. But we have a precedent here – Back in the days when standalone PDA’s were still a hot commodity – Sony’s Clie line of products (which ran on the Palm OS) – were much more popular than Palm’s own line of PDAs – primarily based on the product differentiation achieved by Sony’s product line. So Palm might be successful still, but it would need to focus on differentiating its line of devices both in terms of features, services and most importantly, Palm’s weakest spot – quality.
Motorola, on the other hand, would be the premier choice to acquire Palm – given the popularity of both the Palm OS (which now, though, is a kludgy quagmire of patches) and the Palm Treo line of handset products.
We will see how it unfolds – but I think, this will change many of the current operational dynamics of the converged device market as well as its implication on wireless providers.
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