VMware Gives Channel Partners OK To Sell AirWatch Cloud-Based Mobility Software

VMware catapulted itself into the thick of the mobility software market with its $1.5 billion acquisition of AirWatch in January, and now it's officially bringing the technology to the channel.

"Effective today, the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management Platform through Subscription Cloud (SaaS) SKUs will available on the VMware price list to our global network of more than 75,000 partners," Dave O'Callaghan, senior vice president of VMware's Global Partner Organization, said in a blog post Tuesday.

VMware partners can get authorized to sell AirWatch by completing a four-hour online training course and passing a short exam. The training will apply to a future VMware mobility competency the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor will roll out "at a later date," according to O'Callaghan

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AirWatch sells on premise and cloud based software, but VMware is only letting partners sell the latter for the time being. VMware will offer partner training for on premise AirWatch "at a later date," O'Callaghan said in the blog post.

VMware executives often tout AirWatch's ability to work with any kind of device, from iPhone and iPads to Android smartphones and tablets, and even Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian devices.

While enterprise mobile device management is a big part of AirWatch's business, its portfolio also includes technology for managing apps and content on devices.

Ira Grossman, CTO of end user and mobile computing for MCPc, a Cleveland-based AirWatch and VMware partner, said his enterprise customers are also using these features.

"VMware saw early on the importance of managing devices of all form factors, applications and content, and the AirWatch acquisition addressed gaps and redundancies in their portfolio," Grossman said.

By expanding its AirWatch channel, VMware is hoping to attract more partners in the Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions, where AirWatch does not have a large footprint. VMware unveiled a deal with Verizon last week in which the carrier will be reselling AirWatch to its customers.

While the price VMware paid for AirWatch raised some industry eyebrows, the deal instantly made VMware a contender in the red-hot MDM space following IBM's acquisition of Fiberlink and Citrix's Zenprise buy. Since no one is dominating the MDM space, VMware is hoping its channel expansion will give it a leg up on the competition.