Good Technology brings BlackBerry battle to Canada

An American mobile computing software company thinks it has the goods to take on Research In Motion on its home turf.

Good Technology Inc. officially entered the Canadian market Monday by making its messaging platform, GoodLink,

available on Rogers Wireless’ network. It also announced its first Canadian enterprise customer, Money Mart, will be deploying GoodLink on 600 palmOne Treo smartphones.

Founded in 2001, Good Technology gained immediate exposure when it entered into a legal battle with Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion, which said Good infringed on its patents. The two firms settled in March of this year.

Terry Austin, Good Technology’s president of global field operations, said the Canadian expansion was part of a strategy to move first into English-speaking countries. The next stop will be continental Europe.

“”Canada is obviously our friendly neighbour,”” he said, adding that companies with branch offices in Canada were eager to see GoodLink coverage expand. “”We had the luxury of being pulled in by some very large customers.””

Canadian resellers welcomed Good’s entry into a market that has largely been dominated by RIM’s popular BlackBerry handheld. Azhar Khan, president of Wireless Sigma in Toronto, said his firm has been selling GoodLink for the past month and has already signed up two customers. The company has also been using it internally.

“”(Users) are looking for alternates,”” he said. “”It pretty much comes down to a feature set comparison, because price is really not an issue when you have such niche products.””

GoodLink, for example, allows users to open rich media attachments like PDFs and PowerPoint, Khan said. It also allows for seamless synchronization. If a user deletes something on their smartphone or wireless device, for example, it will also be deleted on their laptop or desktop without using a cradle.

Peter Zver, president of Monreal-based PensEra Knowledge Systems, said his firm began selling GoodLink in the United States. He said Good’s open-standards approach may help address some customers’ long-term needs.

“”I think the idea of device-agnostic (software) is very appealing to organizations that basically are leaving the door open beyond BlackBerry,”” he said. “”It’s really Outlook on a PDA with the interface.””

Austin said Good would continue to approach the market through a mix of direct and indirect sales. Right now, it will be aligning direct sales with Rogers’ sales staff, he said, though that may not be the only network offering GoodLink for long.

“”If the market follows our experience in the U.S. and Europe, once we get going with one carrier . . . they tend to want to follow suit,”” he said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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