On the heels of its recent acquisition of mobile software distributor Cellmania, BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) appears to have made another high-profile buy: The Canadian company purchased DataViz, maker of the widely-used Documents to Go mobile-office-software suite, for about $50 million, according to CrackBerry.com.
Neither company has made the news public as of yet, but DataViz did recently announce via Facebook that it would cease development of Documents to Go for Palm’s webOS. That decision is presumably related to the RIM acquisition, and it stands to reason that DataViz, once further integrated into the RIM team, will also stop offering its existing products for Google Android, Apple’s iOS, Nokia Maemo and other non-BlackBerry platforms.
The DataViz deal is a smart one for RIM, and probably something it should have done years ago, since BlackBerrys have mostly been used by businesspeople in the past and those are the types of users who need a mobile office software suite. All current BlackBerrys ship with the “Standard” edition of Documents to Go, and they have since the release of BlackBerry OS 4.5 in 2008, but that basic version is limited by a lack of crucial features, such as the ability to create a new Word document. (Find a trick to get around that little “inconvenience” here.)
BlackBerry users and others could purchase the full, “Premium” version of Documents to Go in the past, but it wasn’t cheap, and I suspect that significant price tag was a deterrent for many BlackBerry owners. (Today the Premium edition of Docs to Go for BlackBerry is just $19.99.)
Hopefully the DataViz acquisition will lead RIM to include the Premium version of Docs to Go with all new BlackBerrys, or at least some expanded version of Standard Docs to Go. RIM could also offer licenses to Docs to Go Premium as incentive for enterprises or other organizations to adopt BlackBerry Enterprise Servers or other BlackBerry offerings.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.