AirWatch Acquires Motorola's Mobility Services Platform

Mobility management vendor AirWatch this week acquired Motorola Solutions' Mobility Services Platform business to strengthen its play around mobile devices and BYOD.

Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close at the end of the month, were not disclosed. AirWatch Chairman and Founder Alan Dabbiere said his company will incorporate the Mobility Services Platform features into its own mobile device management platform. The acquisition will bring AirWatch approximately 1,500 customers.

"This will help Motorola focus on their devices and let us focus on security and support of these devices with their customers in a way that the real winner is going to be the customer," Dabbiere said.

[Related: Channel Partners: Mobile Device Management Is Only The First Step ]

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Motorola Solutions Product Manager Edward Navarro believes the Mobility Services Platform business has been key to enabling customers to manage their enterprise mobile computers. However, he said, the mobility market has shifted.

"New consumer devices, shorter device life cycles and the proliferation of operating systems have added significant complexity," said Navarro. "While [the Mobility Services Platform] has served our company and our customers well to date, a broader approach is needed to address the rapidly changing competitive landscape."

AirWatch was founded in 2003, and the company has seen its business increase behind the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise and the BYOD trend. The company has grown more than 40 percent sequentially over the past six to eight quarters, according to Dabbiere.

With security a crucial factor when it comes to managing mobile devices, the acquisition will result in additional management tools to configure and manage devices, including security factors such as requiring a pass code and security authentication certificates for mobile devices.

"A lot of secure information is being sent via email, attachments and documents to tablets and phones that aren't necessarily as thoroughly secure as people think it is," said Dabbiere. "We provide a configuration management and security envelope around email, content and configuring the devices in ways that further secures that data."

The company's flagship software product, also named AirWatch, is a single integrated mobile security management platform that can be utilized to configure and secure emails, attachments and contacts and make sure they are not compromised if a device is lost, according to Dabbiere.

AirWatch will be integrating its product and the Mobility Services Platform over the next 12 months, said Dabbiere.

"Our goal is to be a relatively seamless process for customers," he said. "We will over the next 12 months be integrating any unique functionality they had in their product so that [we can transition] all of our joint customers into that single integrated product."

NEXT: AirWatch's Channel Grows

AirWatch has approximately 100 channel partners and a significant amount of business goes through solution providers, VARs and MSPs. Kevin Keith, director of business development for AirWatch, believes the channel is important to the company's growth and future.

"We have so much of our revenue that is heavily influenced by partners in the channel, and 70 percent of our new customers are touched by a channel partner," said Keith. "The amount of revenue that is touching our channel is significant to our total and that's why the channel is so imperative to us right now. This partnership with Motorola also plugs us into their channel."

Stratix, a Norcross, Ga., MSP, partners with AirWatch and Motorola Solutions. Gina Gallo, CEO of Stratix, said 75 percent of Stratix customers use AirWatch's platform and 25 percent use Motorola Solutions' platform. While only a small number of customers do not use either platform, Gallo believes the acquisition will change that.

Stratix's partnership with AirWatch has been strong because of its focus on the evolving use of mobility and its concentration on partners, said Gallo.

"From a partner perspective, they have focused on getting feedback from our customers and for us that's extremely critical," she said. "They listen to our customers, form strategies, provide training and it makes us better in presenting their products."

Airwatch has four tiers in its channel program, including a Reseller Program, Service Provider Program, Technology Partner Program and Referral Partner Program.

As the company continues to grow, Dabbiere hopes to expand into other areas such as machine-to-machine management.

"We'll expand into other areas like machine to machine as we get to ... the Internet of Things," said Dabbiere. "There are a billion mobile devices, and there will be a trillion other things that will need some kind of connection and that's a really exciting space for the future."