VMware has agreed to acquire AirWatch for over US$1.5bn. Richard Abslaom, analyst at Ovum provides his key thoughts:
Successful exit for AirWatch
"Privately owned AirWatch has been one of the clear leaders in the enterprise mobility management market, exhibiting phenomenal growth over the last few years. It now boasts 1,600 employees and 10,000 enterprise customers globally. Having received US$200m in investment in early 2013 and using it to acquire Motorola's mobility services unit, as well as pushing aggressive organic growth, the exit price will no doubt be pleasing to AirWatch's founders and investors."
Important piece of the puzzle for VMware
"AirWatch's fast growth and large customer base will have proved highly attractive to VMware, which can now also add an important array of features to its End User Computing unit. Where VMware has specialized in mobile virtualization to manage enterprise mobile estates, AirWatch will give it tried and tested alternative features in mobile device management (MDM), mobile app management (MAM) and mobile content management (MCM)."
Deal to kick-start acquisition activity from the remaining megavendors not already heavily present in the space?
"As Ovum has been talking about for the last two years, this market is fast consolidating and only a few independent leaders now remain: Good Technology, MobileIron, SOTI, plus the likes of Apperian in the MAM space. These vendors are now going to face stiff competition from megavendors such as IBM, SAP, Dell and CA, as well as VMware, Citrix, and security vendors such as Symantec and McAfee. And with several other big names yet to make major moves (HP, Microsoft for example and maybe even Oracle, which has made a relatively small acquisition in Bitzer Mobile), those remaining independent leaders look like ripe targets.
"We expect the VMware-AirWatch deal to kick-start a surge in M&A activity in the space over the next 6-12 months as the remaining megavendors buy their way into this fast growing market. If these offers don't come in, there is potential for one or two of those niche players to become a dominant "mini-major" in the space, consolidating the competition and becoming the go-to name specifically for EMM."
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