Certicom says Nokia will not kill its VPN sales

Fee v. Free

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The fact that Nokia Corp is to give away virtual private network clients on its 9200 series Communicators does not signal the demise of rival client developers, according to one such provider, Certicom Corp,

Kevin Murphy writes

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The Hayward, California-based firm yesterday unveiled movianVPN for the Symbian operating system, adding that the VPN client will be made available on 9210, 9210i and 9290 Communicators via resellers or for download.

Prakash Panjwani, Senior VP of business development at Certicom, said that cross-device, cross-gateway support will keep its software selling. Enterprises that have deployed multiple VPN gateways and have different types of PDA and smartphone in the field will be better served by Certicom's software than Nokia's, he said.

"Companies are not going to buy a product based on a specific device," he said.

He added that movianVPN has been tested with all the major VPN gateways and on various networks. The company sells its clients through gateway suppliers such as Hewlett-Packard Co, Cisco Systems Inc and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

Last week, Nokia said Communicators will have Nokia-grown VPN clients available for free. At the time, VP of Nokia Mobile Solutions Bob Brace told ComputerWire: "The wireless VPN client licensing model is dated. I'm not sure how other companies that make clients will sell them."

The comments evidently took Certicom by surprise, and Nokia seemed to backpedal somewhat yesterday, saying in a Certicom press release: "[movianVPN] will complement Nokia's own client, which will be available later this year as separate software for corporate users that deploy Nokia VPN infrastructures."

Last week, Nokia's Brace said that although its VPN client has not been extensively tested with other gateways (it sells its own gateway appliance, OEMing Check Point's software), support for the IPSec protocol should make interoperability with most third party vendors, including Cisco, easy.

Panjwani said that Certicom's growth will also come from complementary client products, such as movianCrypt, which encrypts data stored locally on mobile devices. Clearly, data obtained securely over a wireless VPN still runs the risk of being compromised if, say, a PDA on which it is subsequently stored is stolen, a problem movianCrypt addresses but VPN software does not.

Certicom also yesterday announced the release of movianCrypt, previously available only for the Palm OS-based PDAs, for the Pocket PC. Panjwani would not specifically commit Certicom to releasing a Symbian version, but the company's strategy seems to require such a move.

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