Citrix acquisition of Zenprise shines spotlight on mobile app management

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In a sign that the focus of mobile management is shifting from device to app management, Citrix today said it agreed to buy Zenprise.

The combination of technologies from both companies means that IT managers will be able to use a single product to manage both devices and applications, leaders from the companies said.

"We think that as apps continue to gain momentum inside the enterprise, the management of these apps becomes a real headache," said Amit Pandey, president and CEO of Zenprise. "All the flavors of OSes creates a problem."

It used to be that businesses primarily had apps that ran on Windows, he said. But now people are using iOS – on phones and tablets – as well as Android, and its hundreds of flavors, he said.

"What this [deal] means for enterprises is you're going to get a complete mobility solution," said Pandey. "Not just MDM or app management, but a complete solution that is user centric."

The executives offered just a few details about what a combined product would look like. Pandey implied that the Zenprise MDM product would serve as the basis, with app management features layered on top. He also said that other offerings from both companies, like the Citrix ShareFile and Zenprise's mobile SharePoint offering, would be available from the combined product as well.

In a press release about the acquisition, the companies said they planned to integrate Zenprise's MDM product with the Citrix CloudGateway and Me@Work products.

Citrix only just started offering mobile app management services. Earlier this year it added the ability to include mobile apps in CloudGateway, a product designed to be a single source of Web, Windows, SaaS, and now mobile apps for workers.

Me@Work is a suite of apps, including secure email, GoToMeeting, and ShareFile that Citrix has enabled for mobile devices.

The new product that combines technologies from Citrix and Zenprise will be targeted at companies of all sizes, from enterprises to small businesses, Sumit Dhawa, vice president and general manager of mobile solutions at Citrix said.

Citrix won't be the first to offer a product for managing apps and devices from a single pane. Good Technology recently purchased AppCentral to add app management to its device management products. MobileIron does device management and lets customers build app stores for employees. Its offering also detects rogue or unauthorized apps. Fiberlink's MaaS360 product also offers app and device management.

The companies didn't disclose the value of the deal. They expect the acquisition to close in the first quarter of 2013.

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