VMware to acquire mobile software firm AirWatch for $1.5bn

VMware is acquiring mobile device management specialist AirWatch for $1.5bn to boost its end user computing offering

VMware is acquiring mobile device management (MDM) specialist AirWatch for $1.5bn to boost its end-user computing offering.

AirWatch is based in the US but has won a lot of customers in the UK, including various NHS organisations. 

For example, NHS Infomatics Merseyside has deployed AirWatch to secure a fleet of devices, send mobile updates and reduce the cost and time associated with printing documents. Other UK companies using the system include fashion retailer Ted Baker London.

VMware chief executive Pat Gelsinger said: "With this acquisition VMware will add a foundational element to our end-user computing portfolio that will enable our customers to turbo-charge their mobile workforce without compromising security."

AirWatch will build on the company’s strategy to provide a secure virtual environment for users across many different devices. 

"Our vision is to provide a secure virtual workspace that allows users to work at the speed of life," said Sanjay Poonen, general manager of VMware's End-User Computing group.

The acquisition of AirWatch follows a deal in October last year to buy desktop as a service provider Desktone, which delivers Windows applications as a cloud-based service.

VMware appears to be moving beyond mobile device management to a broader mobile application management (MAM) focus. 

Scott Davis, VMware's chief technology officer, said: “If I'm buying my device and paying for the plan, and I want to use it for both business and pleasure, enterprises need to be able to manage the work content… but not preclude what [users] can do with the phone they paid for. That's why we're much more aligned with the MAM space.”

Read more on Mobile networking