Good Technology adds support for Microsoft devices

Good Technology Inc. launched a version of its corporate messaging and data access software Tuesday that supports handheld devices running on Microsoft Corp. mobile operating systems as well as handhelds from PalmOne Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd.

Susan Forbes, vice-president of product marketing at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Good Technology, said Release 3.0 of the company’s GoodLink mobile software also offers encryption based on the tough Advanced Encryption Standard, which uses 128-, 192- and 256-bit keys.

While earlier versions of GoodLink primarily supported delivery of enterprise e-mail to wireless devices such as palmOne’s Treo 600 or the RIM 967 and 950, GoodLink 3.0 supports applications in Microsoft’s Pocket Office suite of products, Forbes said.

She said that will bring a “laptop experience” to handheld devices such as Smartphones based on Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition. It also will work on devices such as the Samsung 1700 from Samsung Corp., which operates on the Verizon Wireless cellular network, or Hitachi Ltd.’s G1000, which operates on the Sprint PCS cellular network of Sprint Corp.

Danny Shader, Good technology’s CEO, said GoodLink 3.0 will provide the “glue” to integrate mobile devices with back-end applications. Forbes said GoodLink 3.0 will allow users to easily view attachments such as Adobe Acrobat files or Excel spreadsheets on their handhelds and scroll through and select e-mails from an in-box that’s much like those found in laptop e-mail systems.

Chris Hill, lead product manager of the mobile devices division at Microsoft, said in a statement that Good Technology’s wireless messaging system is a “natural fit for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs” because users of such devices can access e-mail similarly to the way they would use Microsoft Exchange on the desktop. It also allows them to view native, rich attachments on Pocket PCs, including Pocket Word and Excel files, he said.

GoodLink 3.0 also will support what Forbes called “zero touch” provisioning of Microsoft applications to mobile users by midyear. That will allow enterprise IT managers to push applications out to end users over wireless networks, eliminating the need to physically load software at a central location.

GoodLink 3.0 consists of server software installed behind enterprise firewalls as well as client software, which Good licenses at US$330 per year per user, according to Forbes. The company also offers volume discounts.

Good Technology said it has signed three new enterprise customers: Ferguson Enterprise Inc. in Newport News, Va., the largest wholesale plumbing supply distributor in the U.S.; Spencer Stuart Management Consultants NV, a Chicago-based global executive search firm; and UnumProvident Corp. in Chattanooga, the largest disability insurer in the U.S., which plans to use GoodLink 3.0 to support its field sales force.

David Linsalata, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said GoodLink 3.0 will provide enterprises with a better and more secure platform to manage mobile devices than earlier versions. Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass., said that by adding support for mobile devices based on the Microsoft operating system, Good Technology has “expanded its market. Though what mobile platform will eventually win is still open to speculation.”

By incorporating AES into its software, Good Technology is meeting enterprise users’ demands for the best available encryption, Mathias said. “AES is very secure, and in the future it is going to be essential.”

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