Motorola has bought mobile email company Good Technology for an undisclosed sum, plunging it straight into a patent battle.
The deal will provide Motorola with a number of software products including push email and application building technology so handhelds can link to business databases, as well as Good's existing 12,000 business customers.
As employees become increasingly mobile, wireless email is playing a critical role. Good is second only to Research in Motion in the market, but also has to compete with Seven Networks and new entrant Microsoft.
Good will be pulled into Motorola's mobile device business, together with recent acquisition Symbol, and form the core of Motorola's enterprise hardware and software products. However the purchase also means that Motorola will also have to pick up a patent battle between Good and Visto - which claims the manufacturer has infringed no less than four of its patents.
The push email market is rife with patent-infringement claims at the moment, with many of the main manufacturers suing one another, and a number of patent-only holding companies also looking to extract maximum financial reward for a range of patented approaches to email. There has been a recent run of infringement cases being upheld by the courts, leading to large rewards.
For Motorola, there is also the challenge of integrating yet another company and product line - a task it has had mixed results with in the past, said analyst Jack Gold. In particular there is the vital partnership that Good has with Palm - a Motorola rival. "The acquisition will severely constrain a major relationship that has put Good on the map - the one with Palm and the Treo devices, which are a very large part of Good's business," Gold warned.
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