Recent Gartner research shows that about 20% of medium and large businesses in the U.S. have already purchased MDM tools. Many more are using polices set through their Exchange ActiveSynch servers. MDM market growth has increased over the past two year, and will be over $500 million revenue in 2012 as we reported in our annual MDM MQ. We don’t see this pace slowing down, in fact it’s increasing as the variety of smartphones and tablets continue in the enterprise. Companies with diverse products are competing for this growing market. To date, the most successful MDM companies have been the pure play vendors, with their focus on mobility and new management tools, these are the leaders in our Gartner MQ for 2012. Bigger companies, especially out of the security field are present, but not as well known in this space yet. And this week, one of the leading companies in the “workspace aggregator” market, Citrix, acquired one of those leading pure plays, Zenprise, for an undisclosed amount but rumored to be as much as $300 million.
Citrix, which is mostly known for desktop virtualization, certainly sees the impact of mobile devices in the enterprise and has launched a number of products in the second half of this year to support both online and offline access to mobile data. The idea of supporting smartphones and tablets fits well in its vision of extending desktops to any device. Improving Wi-Fi and 4G networks make this very possible today for these devices. But the maturity isn’t there yet as many of these desktop applications aren’t fully mobile optimized for these devices and network latency can cause user experience issues. The acquisition shows the importance also of having an end-to-end solution in managing and optimizing for mobility. Zenprise not only brings an MDM tool, but homegrown enterprise applications like secure browsers and a Sharepoint interface. I expect to see this get bundled into Receiver sometime. It also will help drive sales of MDM and mobile apps in the cloud–an ever increasing opportunity.
For the industry, this acquisition, though not the first (last big one was RIM acquiring a small European vendor in 2011 to start its Mobile Fusion products) shows the continued maturation and opportunity expansion. There are a lot of competitors currently, which has had a negative impact on margin, even as adoption increases. I’d expect to see more acquisitions in this space in the next year, both from the companies that will want to get into this market, like Cisco, HP and Oracle and from those that are looking to increase their size. I wouldn’t be surprised to see successful MDM companies like AirWatch or Fiberlink start looking at some smaller vendors to expand their channel and breadth, especially as the bigger comapanies become more aggressive in pricing and bundling.