Thursday, February 02, 2006

Whither wireless e-mail?

FORTUNE writes about the patent litigation hitting the mobile email space with Good Technology being sued by Visto "for allegedly infringing four of Visto's patents." According to the article, "Good provides technology currently used on certain models of Palm Treo, HP iPAQ, and Motorola devices, among others. Visto is a so-called white-label provider, selling services to carriers, including Vodaphone (Research) and Cingular, which then resell it under their own brands."

The article states Visto "has a significant patent portfolio -- 25 patents granted worldwide and 57 pending -- that it has been aggressively seeking to assert. It has now filed five suits since late 2003: against Infowave, Seven Networks, Smartner Information Systems (later acquired by Seven Networks), and, just two months ago, Microsoft."

Rob Enderle at the Enderle Group said, "The suit is likely to hurt both firms' opportunities." He believed the "confusion engendered by all the litigation could hurt all the small players and rebound to the benefit of another behemoth: Microsoft."

Gene Signorini at the Yankee Group thought that the smart thing for companies was "may be to explore the possibility of using more than one provider." He said, "For such a mission-critical function you want to have options. Companies don't want to be tied to a single vendor."