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BYOD Delivery: IBM Snaps Up MDM Player Fiberlink

IBM says the acquisition of Fiberlink is all about 'making it simple and quick to unlock the full potential of mobility.'

IBM plans to acquired Fiberlink, an enterprise mobility management company, for an undisclosed amount, Big Blue said Wednesday.

With more than 20 years of experience in enterprise mobile management, Fiberlink, Blue Bell, Pa., is now known for its cloud-based mobile platform, MaaS360. The platform is a plug-and-play solution in which IT departments can be in command over the enterprise functions and applications of an employee's personal device in less than 12 minutes, according to Fiberlink.

In August, Fiberlink rolled out a new and aggressive partner program in which Director of Channel Sales Francois Duamard told CRN the company was aiming to add "thousands" of partners by the end of 2014. Daumard confirmed the acquisition to CRN but said he was unable to comment further at this time.

[Related: BYOD and MDM: 10 Vendors That Get It ]

IBM said it will offer MaaS360 on the IBM SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. The company completed its acquisition of SoftLayer in early July.

The Fiberlink deal is expected to close later this year, according to IBM, Armonk, N.Y. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, Middleware Software, for the IBM Software Group, said in a statement, "In a mobile first world, clients require a comprehensive mobile management and security offering. ... To protect and enhance the complete mobile experience, it's crucial to secure the app, user, content, data and the transaction. The acquisition of Fiberlink will enable us to offer these expanded capabilities to our clients, making it simple and quick to unlock the full potential of mobility."

"The acquisition is a positive move for IBM, which is buying a recognized name in the mobile device management market," said Chris Pyle, president and CEO of Champion Solutions Group, an IBM partner in Boca Raton, Fla.

The MDM market has been ripe for consolidation, with many firms already deploying Fiberlink, MobileIron, AirWatch and other top vendors, Pyle said.

NEXT: Analyst Talks IBM's Acquisition Of Fiberlink

Tyler Shields, senior analyst of security and risk management at Forrester Research, told CRN the acquisition will "push IBM to the forefront of the MDM and security market" and "be a huge positive boom for Fiberlink."

The acquisition is part of a bigger MDM industry picture, one in which MDM players are routinely being gobbled up by larger vendors with more comprehensive security offerings.

"The consolidation of the MDM market is upon us and is coming quickly. MDM is transitioning away from being just an MDM solution and is transforming into a full mobile security platform," Shields said. "The MDM [vendors] most successful in this transition are the ones that will win long term."

"It's a real competitive space right now and is almost being driven to a real commodity," said Champion Solutions Group's Pyle. "IBM is very likely picking up some good market share and a technology that has been a consistently growing need among our clients."


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