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Everything is a feature (in time)

Just keep your pants on. Please...In the least surprising news of the day, the guy who sold his start-up, Zenprise, to Citrix, concluded that selling standalone MDM was a tough sell.

Even though Zenprise had around 100 developers, it would have been tough to respond to all those demands, he said. “We were feeling pressure from larger enterprises to offer data, secure email, secure browsing, and tie it into other third party and native apps,” he said. “We didn’t feel we had the resources to really deliver a lot of these pieces.”

What’s the guy going to say? He took the money and ran and now can throw developers at the problem. That’s his differentiation against the start-ups that remain. And the folks who haven’t sold yet probably want to talk about how innovation stops when a start-up gets bought and how their nimble focus will provide a better solution for customers. Blah blah blah.

Over time, pretty much all the MDM start-ups will be acquired and MDM will be integrated into the management stack. It could be the systems management stack or perhaps the security stack. But it will be integrated. We have seen this movie and it always has the same ending. Over time, everything is a feature. Everything.

And before you tell me one of the stand-alone companies will go public and remain independent, remember that the day their stock starts trading they begin looking for other stuff to buy to integrate into their platform. As a former boss of mine said, “if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.” That’s the way technology markets work.

Photo credit: “Penn and Teller Get Killed + Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” originally uploaded by Double Feature Podcast

—Mike Rothman

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By Alan Shimel  on  02/21  at  07:01 AM

Mike, not all of the MDM’s will get bought. The first one bought will get a nice premium. The 2nd and 3rd and maybe the 4th will get a decent return.  After that the remaining ones start feeling a little desperate. A few of those may go for fire sale prices. Then there will be a few left who lost this game of musical chairs.  I doubt there will be one who remains independent as an MDM player.  We have seen that movie over and over.

By Tom Kemp  on  02/21  at  01:04 PM

Spot on and very timely. I wrote about the MDM market in a similar vein 2 days earler—http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomkemp/2013/02/19/as-mobile-device-management-becomes-commoditized-whats-next-for-mdm/

Question is which management stack will it move to ... security? systems mgmt? network mgmt?  identity mgmt? (wrote about that here http://www.centrify.com/blogs/tomkemp/identity_management_merging_with_mobile_device_management.asp)

Or all of the above, each mgmt stack having its mobile flavor/offering.

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