BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
Remember last year’s Citrix Synergy, where Citrix previewed new technology that could containerize any mobile app on the fly? It really got people talking. Typically, developers have to build different versions of their apps to work with different mobile application management (MAM) products. It’s a hassle, and it has stifled MAM adoption. But Citrix’s new technology, called Dynamic Containerization, promised to eliminate that roadblock. It could have been a real game-changer.
I say “could have been” because, as it turns out, Citrix won’t attempt to containerize public mobile apps after all.
“At this time, we do not have this planned on our XenMobile product roadmap,” said Anthony Ricco, Citrix’s general manager of mobile app delivery, in a December blog post. (The news seemingly went unnoticed at the time; I came across the post today when looking for more information about a XenMobile containerization session scheduled for this year’s Synergy conference.)
Dynamic Containerization would have added additional management capabilities and security features to an app while in transit from a public app store to an end user’s device. The problem is, modifying an app without the permission of its developer or the mobile operating system provider can be a violation of end-user licensing agreements (EULAs). That posed a significant challenge for Citrix, Ricco said.
“Although technically possible, this would require extensive app compatibility testing and EULA approvals by all parties, both of which are not to be underestimated,” he wrote.
At Synergy last year, I asked any Citrix employee I could about this potential problem. None said it would derail the release of Dynamic Containerization for public apps. A high-level executive said Citrix had technology that was able to containerize public apps without violating any licensing. Others said Citrix would work with Apple — a notoriously strict company regarding licensing and the modifying of its software — to find a solution.
That obviously didn’t happen. Citrix does plan, however, to release Dynamic Containerization for apps that organizations develop for internal use.
Meanwhile, other vendors are tackling the complexity of MAM from a different angle. Citrix competitors VMware AirWatch, MobileIron, IBM and JAMF Software formed the AppConfig Community to promote the standardized use of the MAM features built into mobile operating systems.