Ina Fried

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Motorola’s Bet on an Android-Dominated Enterprise Takes Shape

After spending the last few months trying out its software with a few dozen users, 3LM, a business that focuses on bringing Android to the enterprise, is now ready for paying customers.

The company, which was bought by Motorola Mobility in February, sells software that performs a similar role for Android devices as Research In Motion’s server software does in bringing corporate data to BlackBerry devices.

In an interview, 3LM CEO Tom Moss said his company aimed to carry over the top 50 or 60 features that BlackBerry’s server provides as well as add in some new features designed for a new era of mobile products, all at what Moss says is a lower cost than what RIM charges. Among the features are securing the corporate information on a device and helping businesses manage all of the Android devices that are connecting to its information systems.

3LM is not alone in seeing this opportunity, though, and finds itself competing with others, such as Enterproid. AT&T on Monday announced a service called Toggle that uses Enterproid’s technology to allow Android phone owners to separate their device into work and personal parts. RIM has introduced a similar notion, called BlackBerry Balance.

Moss and Gaurav Mathur, both former Googlers on the Android team, together founded 3LM. The pair saw an opportunity to take Android deeper into business than Google was doing on its own. With that, the pair set up shop in Mountain View, basically just a parking lot away from their former Google co-workers.

Now, with Google planning to acquire Motorola, Mathur and Moss could find themselves back working for Google in the not-too-distant future.

“I have no idea what will actually happen, but I will say it is funny how life works out sometimes,” Moss said. “I never saw that coming.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik