Citrix Moves to Acquire MDM Player, Zenprise


The mobile device management (MDM) market is simultaneously a hot enterprise mobile market segment, as well one that is perfectly positioned for consolidation as the larger players look to build their BYOD-driven mobile chops and find themselves in need of adding MDM to their mix of services.

Not too long ago, Symantec acquired Odyssey Software, and now enterprise heavyweight Citrix is adding to the momentum by moving to acquire Zenprise, another fairly small MDM vendor, albeit one with thousands of customers and over 1 million devices under its MDM umbrella of protection.

Zenprise is an interesting company - it got its start around 2005 or so, right around the time Boxtone, another MDM vendor - and these days a direct Zenprise competitor, was emerging. Both companies back then were targeting specific markets. Boxtone was focused on then dominant BlackBerry deployments, and looked to offer enterprise IT very specific and highly granular views into how each of their users were using their devices, along with detailed views into BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

The goal was to allow IT to optimize the hell out of their deployments.

Zenprise came along at about the same time, only Zenprise initially and very specifically targeted Windows Mobile devices and environments, and specifically staying away from the BlackBerry market. We remember to this day, more than seven years after the fact, speaking with Zenprise's CEO and asking how the company could possibly sustain itself with a Windows Mobile-only view of the world.

He laughed and said he remained steadfast in his belief that Windows Mobile would carve out a substantial share of the market and deliver substantial market opportunities for Zenprise.

Well, boy - was he ever wrong! We mentioned this the last time we spoke to Zenprise but the folks we were speaking with kindly reminded us that they might have been wrong about Windows Mobile, but they sure were right about BlackBerry. Fortunately for both companies they moved quickly to adopt their platforms to the iPhone and to Android, and much more recently moved to begin positioning themselves not as MDM vendors but as mobile application management (MAM) vendors.

Our most recent coverage of Zenprise highlights the MAM move.

Amit Pandey, president and CEO at Zenprise, puts it this way: “Unlike most mobile device management vendors that just manage devices, Zenprise is focused on next-generation MDM. This means making mobile apps “business-ready” and keeping mobile content secure, while harmonizing IT needs and the user experience.”

Citrix, the Cloud and Mobility

Citrix has been around since 1989. It emerged when Ed Iacobucci, who had been IBM's OS/2 development leader, decided to leave IBM and start Citrix. We knew Iacobucci back then when he penned a few OS/2 articles for us and for what was at the time Microsoft Systems Journal. Since its founding, Citrix has remained on the cutting edge of enterprise technology, and was early into the game of virtualization, enterprise business collaboration, and then cloud computing, to which the company has more recently been adding significant mobile resources.

Today, Citrix remains independent, and often dips into the M&A arena to rapidly backfill its technology needs. The company has rapidly expanded into the mobile applications space over the last 18 months and needed a credible MDM capability. So it hardly comes as a surprise that today the company announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Zenprise and will look to quickly deliver MDM/MAM services to its substantial collection of enterprise customers.

Following the close of the acquisition, Citrix intends to integrate the Zenprise solution for mobile device management, with its Citrix CloudGateway and Me@Work solutions for managing mobile apps and data. The combined platforms will provide Citrix with a solid and comprehensive solution for managing mobile devices, apps and data from a single, integrated enterprise mobility product line. The platform will generally look as follows:

As we noted above, Citrix has rapidly expanded its mobile capabilities with CloudGateway, which offers a single control point to manage and securely deliver native mobile apps, as well as Windows, Web and SaaS apps to any corporate or personal device. In October, Citrix went a step further with its announcement of Citrix Me@Work, a complete mobile app family built for business that includes Citrix ShareFile for secure mobile data access, Citrix GoToMeeting for easy, integrated mobile collaboration, Podio for social team collaboration, as well as new Citrix @WorkMail and @WorkWeb apps for secure mobile e-mail and Web access.

Sumit Dhawan, vice president and general manager for mobile solutions at Citrix, notes that “Consumerization and BYOD have given rise to very difficult challenges for businesses in enabling a productive, mobile workforce while still maintaining tight controls over company information. Zenprise was a clear choice for Citrix, with its leading MDM product, an experienced team, a history of innovation, and a footprint on more than one million devices. With a complete Citrix enterprise mobility solution, customers have all the necessary pieces to manage and secure mobile apps, content and devices.”

The Zenprise MDM platform is clearly additive to these mobile app and data solutions platforms. We like that Citrix has moved to make the acquisition. We see a solid fit here from both sides, and look forward to seeing a cohesive ad fully integrated Citrix platform emerge over the near future.

We agree completely with Dr. Waheed Qureshi, chairman and CTO at Zenprise, when he said that, “This combination not only brings together incredibly complementary products, but a shared culture of innovation. Citrix and Zenprise have each proven their ability to deliver leading offerings in a fast-paced market. Together, we will accelerate our ability to anticipate and exceed our customers’ expectations for world-class enterprise mobility solutions.”

Edited by Braden Becker
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TechZone360 Senior Editor

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