RIM software suppliers ramp up corporate offerings

OnSet Technology and Good Software, which provide applications for the Research In Motion Ltd. hardware platform, on Monday are announcing e-mail-based software that will further cement the RIM's bragging rights to market share leadership in the wireless enterprise.

Onset will release an upgrade to its METAmessage for Wireless server application called GetData, while Good will introduce GoodInfo. Both are e-mail solutions for accessing corporate data over wireless handhelds.

Onset Technology will ship GetData later this month. GetData, a forms-based application, does not require a Web interface on the client or a Web-based application on the backend. Rather, it uses e-mail protocols and security to link to the corporate server. Onset's METAmessage for Wireless server application also includes an e-mail component for reading attachments on the RIM.

GetData allows system administrators to create their own forms-based application that can be distributed to remote users through e-mail. Using the form, users can submit queries directly to a database with responses returned via e-mail. In GetData's initial release adapters are available for Microsoft SQL and will come with built-in ODBC support. The company will also build connectors to other applications on an as-needed basis.

"If someone wants to support their Seibel application, then they need a Seibel connector. Connectors to other corporate applications will be released over the next year," said Stewart Fox, vice president of sales and marketing at OnSet in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Pricing starts at $20,000 for the METAmessage Wireless server plus US$300 per user.

RIM rival, Good Technology, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., announced GoodInfo this week. GoodInfo will allow remote users to tap into their corporate data sources over a wireless link. And like Onset, it takes a forms-based approach that does not require a browser on the handset. However, it does require a Web-based application to query.

The Good software developer kit allows corporate developers to design customized Web query applications using standard development tools such as XML and HTML, according to Andrea Cook Fleming, vice president of corporate marketing at Good in Sunnyvale, Calif.

GoodInfo along with the GoodLink server used for access to Exchange server will be sold by Cingular Wireless. The wireless e-mail service uses the Cingular Mobitex paging network. The same network is used by RIM's BlackBerry service.

Both RIM and Good have filed lawsuits against one another.

RIM for patent infringement, while Good filed a suit for Declaratory Relief, said Fleming.

Declaratory Relief is a sort of "pre-emptive strike," according to Fleming, that asks the court to declare prior to a lawsuit that the company does not infringe on its rivals patents.

The Good solution will be offered by Cingular as either a replacement to RIM software on RIM devices or with a handheld, G100, similar in design to the RIM.

Good claims its GoodLink software, unlike RIM's, does not require a desktop redirector to access Exchange Server.

While RIM is under increasing pressure from the huge marketing engines powering Microsoft, Palm, and now Good Software, said analysts, the RIM platform and its derivatives owns the market share for the real-world deployments of wireless in the enterprise.

"If you're talking about data-centric wireless data as opposed to voice RIM has the largest share of deployed devices, Palm has the i700, and there are a few iPaqs kicking around with sleds on the back but RIM is number one," said Ken Dulaney, lead analyst at Gartner in San Jose, Calif.

Alex Slawsby, a research analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., agrees.

"Overall RIM's [hardware] volume is not that large but they have dedicated users, almost cultish. They focus on providing PIM and e-mail capability and doing it well and reliably, which has resulted in securing a wireless business professional niche," Slawsby said.

"RIM is not just going to roll over and die," Slawsby added.

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