MobileIron Confirms Arrow Distribution Partnership Has Been Terminated Four Months After Its Launch

A distribution agreement between mobile security company MobileIron and Arrow Electronics has been terminated just months after its launch in February, the company confirmed to CRN on Wednesday.

The partnership, as CRN reported in February, enabled Arrow to sell MobileIron's entire product portfolio, and was the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's first comprehensive North American distribution agreement.

A MobileIron executive said the company concluded that while two-tier distribution might make sense in the future, it was currently not a good fit for the company.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: MobileIron Taps Arrow Electronics For North American Partner Distribution]

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"MobileIron's go-to-market strategy has always been centered on the channel," Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales Greig Patton told CRN. "Earlier this year, we made our first move to two-tier distribution in the U.S. through a relationship with Arrow Electronics Inc. However, we have determined that though two-tier distribution might be useful for the business in the future, it is not required at this point, and so we will not be continuing with the Arrow program."

Without disclosing additional details about the decision, Patton said, "MobileIron is continuously evaluating how to ensure our distribution strategy and reseller program optimizes our routes to market."

When asked for comment, an Arrow spokesperson said that the company doesn't speak about the business strategies of other companies.

While MobileIron has had previous individual distribution agreements in place to help specific partners' needs or in other regions, the company had never before had a comprehensive distribution agreement across its North American partner base.

At the time the distribution deal was made, MobileIron touted it as a way for the company to grow its channel program's breadth and depth, as well as making its own sales operation more efficient.

The partnership launched in February, just a month after MobileIron named Barry Mainz, who previously worked at Wind River, as its new CEO. Mainz replaced former CEO Bob Tinker to "lead the next stage of MobileIron's growth," according to the company.

Executives with MobileIron partners interviewed by CRN who were aware of the termination of the distribution pact said they were unclear about why the partnership had ended, but said they didn't view the distribution agreement as beneficial to the channel.

"I don't know why it's fallen apart, but I like that it has," said one executive with a MobileIron partner, who wished to remain anonymous. "I don't like distributors … no one does. It's not that Arrow's bad, but it's an extra thing to deal with. It's another wheel for us to go through."

As part of the distribution agreement, all partners were welcome to transact through Arrow, but were also given the option to stay direct with MobileIron.

According to another partner executive, who also wished to remain anonymous, Arrow was taking about 2 percent to 6 percent of the margin on pricing discounts. The executive said many resellers preferred working with MobileIron directly.

"The benefit of the partnership was to MobileIron, but not partners. … Many partners did not want to go through Arrow," the partner said.