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AirWatch users get secure email app via VMware's Boxer buy

VMware plans to expand AirWatch's Atlanta offices and looks to integrate newly acquired Boxer into the EMM vendor's platform.

VMware acquired secure email app maker Boxer Inc. to give AirWatch users another mobile business tool, as the company expands its AirWatch staff and home base in Atlanta.

The acquisition is for an undisclosed amount and the company plans to integrate the app with AirWatch. Boxer secures email platforms, including Outlook, Gmail, Exchange, Office 365 and Yahoo email accounts, among others, and integrates with platforms such as Salesforce, Box, Dropbox and Evernote. 

By integrating with AirWatch, Boxer will allow businesses to deliver secure access to email, content and apps to their employees, Boxer said in a blog post.

The email app has its own personal information management offering, which uses a container approach to security and mobile application management. The Boxer team will join AirWatch after the deal closes later this quarter, VMware said in a blog post.

The company aspires to make it simpler for users to access their apps using single-sign on, but still uphold security, said Noah Wasmer, vice president of strategy and CTO of end-user computing at VMware. Professionals have an average of 10-15 apps that they use regularly, which come with a lot of different passwords, he said.

By integrating applications into the AirWatch platform, it is easier for users to get in and out of apps securely, without having to punch in passwords with each new app.

VMware expands AirWatch business

Meanwhile, VMware has been busy expanding AirWatch staffing and its facility to keep pace with the company's enterprise mobility management (EMM) business growth, Wasmer said.

"Across the board, we're looking at increased investments in R&D, as new platforms become available, and we're servicing different geographies from an engineers and sales perspective," Wasmer said.

VMware looks to add a new 50,000 to 70,000 square-foot office facility in the area, in addition to expanding its existing 200,000 square-foot building in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

AirWatch was about a 1,200 person organization when it was acquired by VMware last year for $1.18 billion. It is now more than 2,000 people spread over various locations, with a good part of that growth occurring in Atlanta, said Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM, End-User Computing, VMware.

"We are very committed to this location," he said. "If we have a strategic location, we will invest there."

VMware and AirWatch have built relationships with the computer science departments of local universities, including Georgia Tech, Poonen said, and look to hire graduating talent. VMware's Palo Alto, California location has a similar relationship with Stanford University, he said.

"AirWatch has had an incredible iconic brand as being one of those darlings of Atlanta that was successful," Poonen said. "We want to further that. We want to ensure that many of these folks can build careers here -- hopefully, for years to come."

AirWatch's revenue grew by 78% year-over-year from 2013 through 2014, according to IDC's EMM market share report for 2014, published in June. The research firm, based in Framingham, Mass., estimates AirWatch's revenue to be approximately $161 million, higher than any of the 15 largest vendors in the EMM space.

That growth may be due to AirWatch's user-friendliness.

Other companies we looked at were very intrusive, and it changed the experience drastically.
Dean HuddlestonIT manager at State Auto Insurance Companies

"Our user experience didn't change...That's important to our company. Other companies we looked at were very intrusive, and it changed the [user] experience drastically," said Dean Huddleston, IT manager at State Auto Insurance Companies, based in Columbus, Ohio. "I haven't seen that with these guys."

Another perk of the platform is that it is in close collaboration with Salesforce, Huddleston said, which his company uses regularly.

Allowing users to customize the level of security and number of authentication levels an employee has to go through to access an application is one of AirWatch's best features, said Brian Holt, ARMS IT analyst for Southern Company, an Atlanta-based energy and utilities company, with more than 10,000 employees.

"I think AirWatch is doing a good job of allowing the platform to be configured to the level of security you deem is appropriate," said Holt, whose company has been an AirWatch customer for the past three years. "It's not just forcing a certain level you have to live with…We're pretty happy with them."

AirWatch and VMware have been involved in multiple merger and acquisitions of late. EMC, which owns VMware, will be acquired by Dell next year for $67 billion in the largest acquisition deal in tech history. In the deal, VMware will remain as a separate, publicly held company and EMC will be integrated into Dell.

Ramin Edmond is a news writer with TechTarget's End User Computing media group. Contact him at [email protected]

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