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VMware Bulls Way into MDM Mart with $1.17 Billion AirWatch Buy

By Doug Barney

VMware plans to pick up a slice of the MDM market, and the MSPs to go with it when it completes its acquisition of AirWatch, a leader in the mobile device management space, at least according to Forrester and Gartner.

The MDM market is on the rise in large measure because BYOD is on such a roll, and BYOD without proper management and security is just asking for trouble.

VMware doesn’t plan any major changes, at least initially for AirWatch, and John Marshall will continue on as CEO of the mobility company. AirWatch, however, will be rolled into VMware’s end-user computing group.

AirWatch is no tiny startup. To the contrary, it has some 1,600 workers and over 10,000 customers.

Besides resellers, AirWatch targets service providers. “AirWatch Service Provider Partners maintain control of their environment within the AirWatch hosted infrastructure and are providing their customers with mobile device management as a managed service. This solution can be “white-labeled” or rebranded by the partner to maximize brand recognition,” the company said.

AirWatch Kudos

AirWatch has been garnering kudos as of late, and was named a “strong performer” in the recent Forrester (News - Alert) Wave: File Sync and Share Platforms, Q3 2013 report.

This comes on top of recent kudos from Red Herring and Gartner.

AirWatch may have been a strong performer, but it was edged out by 7 stronger performers.

Box came out on top as a leader, followed by fellow leaders IBM and EMC. Topping the strong performer rankings were Accellion, Citrix, Egnyte and WatchDox.

AirWatch came in with a pack of what Forrester calls “the middle of Strong Performers” which also included Alfresco, DropBox and Salesforce.com.

AirWatch, which focuses a lot on Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and of course MDM, is happy to be in the middle of this relatively young market. “Three things define AirWatch’s sweet spot in this market: a strong focus on mobile scenarios with its integrated mobile device management solution; the ability to deploy in a hybrid model, with files and metadata in the cloud or on-premises; and experience securing company-owned and employee-owned devices,” wrote authors Ted Schadler and Rob Koplowitz.

AirWatch was also chosen a winner in the annual Red Herring Top 100 North America Award. The list focuses on private technology companies with promising futures, and often focuses on early stage outfits, which the MDM veteran AirWatch clearly is not.

Gartner also likes what it sees, and the MDM company was called “outstanding” in Gartner’s most recent Critical Capabilities for Mobile Device Management report.

But the Magic Quadrant is what vendors really covet and here AirWatch made it into the top portion of this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM as a “leader.” Gartner noted that AirWatch, based in Atlanta, has been on an international expansion tear with new data centers in Australia, Europe and India. Airwatch is also a silver sponsor of the ITEXPO happening in Miami, Fla.,  Jan. 28 – 31, which underscores Airwatch’s presence in the MDM sector.

While AirWatch offers on-premises MDM tools, a solid majority of clients opted for the cloud.

“AirWatch's enterprise MDM offering has broad MDM functional breadth and maturity, including enhanced mobile security, application security and management, mobile content management (through Secure Content Locker) and mobile email management, as well as enterprise back-end infrastructure integration,” Gartner enthused. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

MSPToday Editor at Large

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