Visto, RIM in for “world of hurt?”

Visto — the wireless e-mail provider whose service competes with similar “push” e-mail services from Seven Networks, Good Technology, Intellisync and of course Waterloo’s own Research In Motion — has raised another $70-million (U.S.) in financing from a bunch of venture capital groups, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Oak Partners, bringing the total it has raised to more than $230-million. According to a VC named Bill Burnham, who used to work at Softbank and before that was a Wall Street analyst, Good has raised a similar amount of money. Mr. Burnham feels that this is insane, given the fact that Microsoft has added push e-mail features to its Exchange server software and included them as a free upgrade.

He has a point. And what does this mean for Good and Seven and Visto? As far as Mr. Burnham is concerned, they are in for “a world of hurt.” As for RIM, he predicts it will “see its value cut by 30-50% in the next 12 months.” An aggressive forecast, but not out of the realm of possibility. Most businesses already have Exchange servers, which they are not only comfortable with but have invested a lot of time and money in, and now along comes a free upgrade that provides push e-mail to any Windows device — which will soon include the Palm Treo handheld, now that Palm has done a deal with the Beast from Redmond. An interesting time to be pouring money into a wireless e-mail vendor such as Visto. (via

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