With the mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) markets still reeling from VMware’s $1.5B purchase of competitor AirWatch, Good Technology has announced that it is purchasing BoxTone for an undisclosed amount. This is a purchase to turn heads: Good Technology is making a bold statement to the world that it, too, is here, and it can and does play in this space.

Good Technology’s purchase of BoxTone is a heads-up to VMware and Citrix that perhaps their purchases of AirWatch and Zenprise do not make them the de facto dominant players in this fledgling market. Good Technology President and CEO Christy Wyatt stated that the acquisition brings together the industry’s “leading provider of secure mobility solutions for data devices and apps with the industry innovator in mobile service management.” BoxTone President and CEO Alan Snyder commented that “the synergies between BoxTone and Good will allow customers to benefit from the unique combination of security and service management to manage their business-critical mobile deployments.”

This consolidation of a very competitive market, through the acquisitions of AirWatch by VMware, Zenprise by Citrix, and Fiberlink by IBM, as well as through mergers like this one, was an inevitable event. The initial low barrier for basic MDM entry for start-ups meant a proliferation of companies in this market, and this position was and still is unsustainable. For the stronger players in the market, mergers and acquisitions are the order of the day. For the weaker and more niche players, becoming acquired should be part of their exit strategies, or they are at major risk of withering and dying.

Already, there is a marked reduction in the margins companies can make, due to pricing pressures and reduced venture capital for funding the development of new features to retain competitiveness. It is expected that some of the weaker players will exit the market altogether soon.

So, what is next for MobileIron, the only one of the leaders in Garner’s Magic Quadrant not to have been bought? Bloomberg reported on February 10 that it was in sync with Goldman Sachs working on an IPO offering; this, however, was refuted by Clarissa Horowitz, MobileIron’s senior director of communications.

For many, MobileIron’s going public would not be a surprise. SOTI Inc. CEO Carl Rodrigues stated on February 14 that MobileIron would either be bought or go public within the year. However, he later expanded on that view: “There’s been talk on the wire that MobileIron is looking to be acquired,” he said. “If you make a statement out there that this is your last chance, and we might not be available any more, that would definitely have the effect of pulling anybody sitting on the sidelines to make calls in to MobileIron.”

That said, MobileIron could be a good fit for the likes of Dell KACE or HP, to firm up their offerings.

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Tom Howarth (55 Posts)

Tom Howarth is an IT Veteran of over 20 years experience and is the owner of PlanetVM.Net Ltd, Tom is a moderator of the VMware Communities forum. He is a contributing author on VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment, and the forthcoming vSphere a Quick Guide. He regularly does huge virtualization projects for enterprises in the U.K. and elsewhere in EMEA. Tom was Elected vExpert for 2009 and each subsequent year thereafter.

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