VMware signaled a strong push into mobile computing today by agreeing to acquire AirWatch in a deal valued at $1.54 billion.
A provider of mobile management and security software, AirWatch provides mobile device management (MDM) software to 10,000 customers that can run on premise or in the cloud, including secure email container software and tools that isolate personal and corporate data on mobile computing devices.
Sanjay Poonen, vice president and general manager for end-user computing at VMware, says AirWatch will now become the focal point through which VMware will concentrate its mobile computing strategy, which relies heavily on desktop virtualization software. In the post-PC era, Poonen says mobile devices are clearly the new desktop.
The acquisition of AirWatch signals the maturation of mobile computing in the enterprise, which is driving a spate of acquisitions across the MDM category.
Whether desktop virtualization software is the right answer for mobile computing in the enterprise remains to be seen. But given all the IT management headaches associated with mobile computing in the enterprise, it’s apparent that IT organizations need a management approach that scales. What’s not as clear is whether that will require dedicated MDM management tools or whether existing desktop management platforms will be simply extended to support mobile computing devices and applications.