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VMware jumps into mobile app analytics with Apteligent buy

Mobile app analytics and monitoring are the new “it” technologies in end-user computing.

Two months after Cisco acquired AppDynamics, VMware has snapped up Apteligent. The deal will bring mobile app user experience (UX) and performance monitoring capabilities to VMware’s existing digital workspace products, senior vice president Sumit Dhawan said in a blog post.

Lack of user buy-in is one of the main reasons that enterprise mobility projects fail. And nothing drives users away from an app faster than a poor UX. Apteligent and other mobile app performance monitoring tools allow IT to view real-time data on crashes, response times and other factors that can affect UX. More importantly, their mobile app analytics capabilities allow developers to quickly pinpoint the causes of problems and address them.

But mobile app UX and performance monitoring isn’t a magic pill. Many organizations have lengthy, deliberate development and release cycles, and they aren’t accustomed to constantly tweaking and tuning their apps.

“It’s the continuous improving of the app that’s the hard part,” said Burley Kawasaki, senior vice president at mobile app development platform vendor Kony, in a 2015 article on in-app analytics.

Inside the VMware-Apteligent acquisition

VMware will integrate Apteligent’s technology into its product line and continue to support existing Apteligent customers with service contracts, a spokesman said. The current Apteligent product will not be available to new customers once the acquisition closes.

San Francisco-based Apteligent was founded as Crittercism in 2011. VMware invested in the company during its $30 million Series C funding round in 2014. The vendors did not disclose the terms of yesterday’s acquisition.

Crittercism originally focused on monitoring and analytics for consumer apps but shifted its focus to enterprise mobility when it changed its name last year, founders Andrew Levy and Robert Kwok wrote in a letter to customers. Apteligent maintains a strong presence in the consumer market, however; its customers include Niantic, developer of Pokémon Go, one of the most popular mobile apps of all time.

Other companies that offer mobile app analytics and monitoring include Appsee, Google’s Crashlytics, New Relic and Riverbed Technology, which acquired Aternity last year.

The Apteligent deal complements VMware’s April acquisition of Wavefront, a startup that monitors application containers and microservices, Dhawan said.

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So this is definitely a nice to have, and it makes sense that monitoring and analytics would be part of the mobility management stack.

On the other hand, it seems like a somewhat of new direction. It's more on the "things for developers" side than on the "things for EUC admins" side. (Of course, with acknowledgement that there can be a lot of overlap between these two sides.)

For this reason, it makes me wonder what the underlying plan is. Could VMware be looking into some type of MBaaS? For years, we've batted around the idea of them acquiring an app refactoring platform a la Powwow or Capriza. For many of the same reasons, MBaaS would make a lot of sense on the roadmap, too. Consider me curious!
It is definitely a new direction for VMware, and an MBaaS or even MADP acquisition wouldn't surprise me now. Mobile app analytics bring IT and developers together, so it would make sense for VMware to use Apteligent to bring its traditional IT-focused products together with new developer-focused products.
App Analytics is essential in today's market