Juniper Snaps Up Mobile Security Firm For $70 Million


Juniper late Tuesday confirmed it will acquire SMobile Systems, a privately held maker of software and mobile security products for tablets and smartphones. According to Juniper, it's an all-cash deal valued at approximately $70 million.

SMobile Systems, based in Columbus, Ohio, specializes in antivirus, personal firewalls, anti-spam, loss/theft protection, remote lock and wipe, identity protection and enterprise control software for client devices running Google Android, Apple iOS, Nokia Symbian, Research In Motion BlackBerry or Microsoft Windows Mobile OSes.

Juniper will incorporate SMobile's technology into Junos Pulse, a platform that, as part of Juniper's Junos OS, offers remote access, WAN acceleration and security safeguards for mobile devices while paring down the number of networking clients normally used to provide those things. In an announcement discussing the acquisition, Juniper cited research from Infonetics indicating that the mobile client security market is expected to hit $1 billion by 2014.

"Juniper already secures the majority of smart phone traffic in the United States, is a global leader in high-end firewalls and the SSL VPN market, and enables more than 25 million end users to remotely and securely connect their PCs and smart phones to corporate networks," said Mark Bauhaus, Juniper executive vice president and general manager, Services Layer Technologies, in a statement. "Integrating SMobile's portfolio into Junos Pulse will provide users with the most comprehensive mobile security solution available on the market."

Neil Book, president and CEO of SMobile, added in the statement that SMobile is "excited and energized about the opportunity to leverage Juniper's world-class organization and global sales channel to continue to provide the most feature-rich and robust mobile security solutions in the market."

Details on how Book and SMobile's employees would be incorporated into the Juniper team were not immediately available Tuesday.

Both Junos Pulse and Junos Space, an application platform, are key pieces of Juniper's strategy to sell data center infrastructure in a "flatter network" -- that is, create a single data center fabric that relies on the Junos operating system and the technologies that support it.

Software selling tied to Junos was a key message to Juniper partners at the J-Partner conference in May. Mike Harding, vice president and general manager of Junos Space, urged partners to consider how they can works software into their stategy and said that Juniper is actively cultivating Junos developers. Juniper also plans to invest $50 million into a Junos Innovation Fund, in which it will bankroll Junos development with a select group of partners.

Acquisitions by Juniper have been rare in the past five years, but SMobile marks the second it's made in the span of four months. In April, Juniper acquired Ankeena Networks, which makes software for optimizing video and rich media content delivery.

Juniper last week reported quarterly profit of $130.5 million, up from $14.8 million in the same period a year ago, and revenue of $978.3 million, up from $786.4 million a year earlier. Both profit and sales beat Wall Street estimates, and Juniper also reported 31 percent revenue gains and 21 percent revenue gains in its enterprise and infrastructure segments, respectively.