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Google Buys BYOD Startup With Otherwise ‘Bleak’ Future

By Craig Galbraith
May 23, 2014 - News
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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest communications mergers in Q1 2014.**

Consolidation continues in the mobile-device management space, with Google buying BYOD MDM solution provider Divide for an undisclosed sum.

The move might make Google’s Android operating system more attractive to companies who want to let their employees use their personal smartphone and tablets for work purposes.

Google and Divide have worked together before. Divide used to be known as Enterproid, supported by Google Ventures. Divide’s platform focuses on keeping work and personal data separate on one device, allowing businesses to manage their information on employee-owned devices. 

Chris Marsh, a principal analyst with Yankee Group, says acquisition is about the only way that some of these small MDM providers can survive; yet, the purchases seem to be good decisions by the Googles of the world.

“I’ve often thought what a glum business the MDM must be: quickly commoditized, supplanted by wider EMM services and little chance of surviving independently without other products or services," noted Marsh, commenting specifically on a Re/code article. “However, lo and behold the rate at which pure play vendors are being snapped up (Zenprise, AirWatch, BoxTone, Fiberlink, WaveLink, Notify, 3LM, Odyssey, ubitexx, DIALOGS and now Divide) — often a nice sum of money. … It’s nice business if you can get it! Or is it? These businesses are of course being snapped up because their fortunes are fairly bleak otherwise — they are bit players on a much larger stage where mobile devices are being made true enterprise computing platforms. For Google, however, this is a good buy. Divide has decent experience if unspectacular growth and should help Google ratchet up its focus on Android as that enterprise platform."

The purchase price is expected to be approximately $130 million in cash. 

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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