On Monday, LANDESK announced its plans to acquire AppSense. LANDESK is a well-known, stable technology company based in Utah, whereas AppSense has had several tumultuous years as it has sought to define its niche within the virtualization market. This pairing appears to be a good move for both organizations, with AppSense likely being the greater beneficiary.
The marriage of LANDESK and AppSense allows the company to address both virtual and physical endpoint solutions. Previously, LANDESK had focused on physical endpoints only, but this acquisition now enables the company to address virtualization and mobility as well.
Let’s face it: AppSense needed some help. There had been rumors that it had been trying to sell itself for quite some time. Overall, it didn’t seem well aligned and purposed.
Instead of just fifteen minutes of fame, the company had several years of it about a decade ago. In the days when user profiles were a chief source of headaches for Citrix administrators (remember, Citrix owned the virtualization market at that time), AppSense provided a technical alternative to roaming profiles. Its solution wasn’t all that easy to use, but it did work once it was set up correctly, and that was a lot more than you could say about Microsoft profiles.
Virtualization folks are a pretty tight group, and in the mid-2000s, it wasn’t all that uncommon to see industry colleagues announcing that their new employer was AppSense. So many people from Citrix left for the company that rumors proliferated that Citrix had asked it to curtail recruitment of Citrix’s people.
There were also rumors that Citrix had tried to acquire AppSense in the 2007–2008 timeframe and that AppSense would not agree to being purchased. Instead, Citrix moved forward with acquiring the sepago profile solution in 2008, and this is still available today under the name User Profile Management.
Having spent many, many hours working with the AppSense user profile solution, I can say it was not as intuitive and easy to implement as expected. AppSense consulting was a necessity due to the complexity of the product. Administration required learning about the registry in detail, and many manual steps were required. Further, large organizations that implemented AppSense often had to hire an administrator to focus mostly or fully on the product.
But as the inherent Microsoft profile solution improved and other competitors sprang up in the market, AppSense started to lose its edge. As with many other darlings of the technology sector, it held the spotlight for a few years. But then, numerous other companies worked vigorously to dethrone it by means of marketing, technical expertise, service, and price.
Over the past few years, AppSense branched out its product set, but it made numerous stumbles along the way. Big names and big announcements didn’t always materialize as expected. The move from New York to California in 2013 was an internal irritant, and for that and other reasons, there was significant turnover.
The acquisition by LANDESK appears to be a good fit in many ways. From both a channel and product perspective, it is difficult to find overlap. According to AppSense, “Together, the LANDESK and AppSense portfolio will deliver broad device management which includes VDI, user profile management and mobile content management. It’s the complete endpoint strategy customers need across both physical and virtual environments while extending advanced endpoint protection capabilities.”
LANDESK has been in existence for thirty-one years and is recognized for stability and well-known products, whereas AppSense is a technology youngster of seventeen years. While merging the product set seems to have a significant amount of inherent logic, the cultural aspects of the acquisition may go through some bumps and bruises. AppSense has some history of being a troubled teenager, and the Sunnyvale, California, technology company will need to align itself accordingly with its new parent company.
AppSense now has a golden opportunity to rethink its product set and direction under LANDESK. LANDESK has already stated that one of the first strategic moves AppSense will make is to translate its English-only products to other languages to address the global market. That’s a brilliant move, because technology is not only addressed in English. As simple an idea as it is, why didn’t AppSense think of doing that?