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Stepping up its campaign to give IT managers a powerful alternative to the BlackBerry, Motorola's Good Technology division Monday released its latest version of Good Mobile Messaging, a wireless e-mail suite that for the first time includes security and management tools from the Good Mobile Defense product.
The new release could heat up competition in the enterprise mobile e-mail market long dominated by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. One selling point for Good is that, while it's owned by the world's No. 2 handset maker, Motorola, it will work on devices from a variety of manufacturers.
Motorola acquired Good for a reported $500 million last year in a bid to strengthen its offerings for corporations. Many observers predict the smartphone market will explode in the coming months, thanks in part to this week's release of the iPhone from Apple.
Saying the company's aim is to "make your smartphone as productive as your laptop or desktop" computer, Motorola Good Technology Group director of marketing Dan Rudolph describes a set of features in the new release that add capabilities normally found on desktop software such as Microsoft Outlook, including the ability to sort messages by sender and priority, schedule meetings and automatically add them to calendars, and edit documents and attach them to e-mail messages.
The heart of the new software, though, lies in its appeal to IT departments.
Today a lot of IT policy has to be enforced on small mobile devices," observes Rudolph, "producing a struggle between IT needing to securely manage smartphones and enforce policy, while at the same time not impacting user productivity."
Good Mobile Messaging 5.0, he adds, is a best-of-both-worlds tool that "gives IT everything they could ever want" in terms of centrally controlling any policy over remote devices, while "not impairing users' ability to get stuff done on the smartphone."
To a large degree that means managing applications. The new software allows IT departments to require all devices to use mandatory applications, such as virus-protection software, and to ban the launch of blacklisted applications not meeting company guidelines. Good 5 also allows advanced password and encryption management and the temporary lockdown of possibly compromised devices -- rather than a complete shutdown and erase requiring the full reinstalling of software if the device is recovered.
The software also allows IT managers to move users across Good servers within the enterprise, a feature that will make the management of large numbers of mobile employees easier.
The salvo from Good Technology comes at an important time for parent company Motorola, which has lost handset market share to both Nokia and Samsung in the last year. According to a recent report by CIBC World Markets analyst Ittai Kidron, Motorola is in danger of losing its No. 2 global ranking to Samsung in the next quarter.