Business 2.0 | Blackberry Season
"That may be, but more and more companies are coming close -- and some observers believe that RIM's proprietary model is doomed. For instance, Good Technology, based in Palo Alto, sells wireless e-mail software that works with a variety of operating systems and handhelds, thus weakening the BlackBerry's 'us-or-nothing' grip on the market. (See 'The Good Alternative') Good's software works on the Palm and Microsoft Pocket PC operating systems and can be used on the Treo 600, Hewlett-Packard's iPaq, and even RIM's older BlackBerrys. While the BlackBerry carries its own applications for contacts, calendar, and other functions, Palm and Pocket PC devices have thousands more. The BlackBerry's word-processing program, eWord, comes from a company called DynoPlex. 'Good has a word processor too,' says Good CEO Danny Shader. 'It's called Microsoft Word.'
If you believe that handheld users value standards and functionality over simplicity, Good's cross-platform support makes sense. 'This business is no different than the computer business,' Shader says. 'The handheld is the next laptop. The industry will tear down anyone who tries to go it alone.' And increasingly, Shader's pitch is finding converts. Forrest Jenkins, the telecommunications business manager for Scana, a regional energy company based in Columbia, S.C., recently switched his executives from BlackBerrys to Good-powered Treo 600s because the software had 'more the look and feel of what they are used to with [Microsoft] Outlook.' "