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VMware Purchases Mobile Vendor Boxer

Boxer, a consumer-focused company, will be incorporated into AirWatch, its enterprise mobility manager.

AirWatch has been a rousing success since VMware acquired it in Feb. 2014. The enterprise mobility management (EMM) suite has become a key driver in VMware's vision, according to a Q&A Virtualization Review recently did with CEO Pat Gelsinger. And today VMware announced that it's further bolstering AirWatch by acquiring Boxer, Inc., most famous for a consumer email client.

A 'World-Class Suite of Services'
Noah Wasmer, chief technology officer and vice president of product management, mobile products, End-User Computing for VMware, outlined the reason for the move in a blog posting today. "…the combination of Boxer and AirWatch by VMware will create a world-class suite of services that will enable businesses to provide their employees with secure access to their email, content and apps." The announcement was made at VMworld Europe, going on in Barcelona this week.

At first, it may seem like something of a mismatch, as Boxer is more consumer oriented; its apps are available for both iOS and Android, and they're marketed as user-friendly, with abilities like tight social network integration. Boxer does note on its Web site, however, that it has enterprise-grade features like Exchange Policy Enforcement and 256-bit AES Encryption. VMware hopes to tap into the more consumer-level aspects of Boxer, combining it with the management features from AirWatch.

Consumer Simple, Enterprise Secure
VMware has come up with a catchphrase for this integration: "Consumer simple, enterprise secure." The companies have apparently aligned their marketing message, as Boxer CEO Andrew Eye uses exactly the same phrase in his blog announcement of the deal: "Both of our teams strive to provide solutions that are "consumer simple and enterprise secure" which made this an obvious fit." Eye added that the acquisition won't affect Boxer's continued development of the consumer apps.

AirWatch, which cost VMware about $1.5 billion, was named a leader in Gartner, Inc.'s "Magic Quadrant" for enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites. Gartner said that "AirWatch is becoming integrated with various VMware technologies, most notably VMware's identity and access management and software-defined networking products." Now, with the Boxer purchase, it has one more piece to integrate.

A Busy Week
The Boxer acquisition adds to one of the busiest weeks in VMware's history. On Monday, Dell rocked the technology world when it announced it was buying VMware parent EMC Corp. in the biggest technology deal of all time, worth roughly $67 billion.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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