Blackberry buys Good Technology as it further expands into mobile device security

Blackberry is especially interested in its former competitor's experience with securing iOS devices

Blackberry has moved further into the mobile device management space by purchasing Good Technology for $US425 million.

Good Technology sells enterprise mobile security products and was Blackberry's competitor. In a January blog post, Blackberry called out Good for claiming it was the first company to add a special billing feature to its products.

A separate blog post on Friday discussing the merger made note of this history, saying the companies have taken "aggressive positions" through the years.

But BlackBerry has put the companies' war of words behind it, as it is evidently more focused on beefing up its mobile security technology than on holding on to corporate grudges. As Blackberry's once popular phones have fallen out of fashion at companies, the company is trying to find a new niche securing phones as well as connected devices that are part of the Internet of Things.

The Canadian company still sells handsets. However, at a conference in July, Blackberry CEO John Chen emphasized the company's enterprise mobile security plans, saying acquisitions would go toward building a secure mobile platform.

Good fits into that picture with its experience securing multiple platforms, especially devices running iOS, an area where Blackberry lacks expertise, Chen said on a call to discuss the merger. According to Blackberry, 64 percent of devices that use Good's products run iOS.

Good's customers also include Android and Windows users, allowing Blackberry to offer customers products for their preferred mobile OS, it said.

Blackberry will merge its platform with Good's products, but there isn't a timeline for this process, Chen said.

Analyst Jack Gold from J. Gold Associates called the deal a win for both companies in principle, but warned that integrating their products and their organizations won't be easy.

"BlackBerry does have experience here with its many recent acquisitions, but Good has much more technology to integrate than previous acquisitions," Gold wrote in a research note emailed to the media. "And the culture of the two companies is different, especially since it's clear that there was no love lost between the top staff."

Gold estimates that the corporate and technology integration process will take a year or more. "Assuming that the two products can be integrated successfully and only the complementary 'best of the two' remain, this is a good acquisition for BlackBerry and a good exit strategy for Good," he wrote.

With Good's acquisition, Blackberry expects to record an additional $160 million in revenue during the first year. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter and is subject to regulatory approval.

Other companies Blackberry has bought to bolster its enterprise mobile security products include AtHoc, which makes a software platform for sending out alerts to mobile devices, WatchDog, which offered software to securely share documents, and SecuSmart, whose technology encrypts telephone messages.

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Tags mobile devicesBlackberryAndroidsoftwareWindowsOSGood Technology

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Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
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