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Mobile app management vendor Apperian faces acquisition

On the heels of its CEO's departure, mobile application management pioneer Apperian says it will announce its acquisition next week. But who's buying?

Mobile app management vendor Apperian is being acquired.

Arxan, a vendor that secures mobile and internet of things applications, will acquire at least some of Apperian's assets, said sources with knowledge of the matter. Apperian did not comment on any details of the deal and said it will announce the acquisition Jan. 11.

Apperian released its mobile application management (MAM) platform in 2010, pioneering an alternative approach to device-centric management. Over the years, major enterprise software vendors such as Citrix, IBM, Microsoft and VMware moved into the market and incorporated MAM into larger enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites.

IT shops that want to deploy a large amount of mobile apps to users -- but don't want to invest in EMM  -- could benefit from Apperian's MAM platform, said Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates LLC, a mobile analyst firm in Northborough, Mass.

"They were one of the leaders in the whole MAM space, but it was kind of a tough road for them because MAM was new and people weren't sure they needed it," Gold said. "They've done OK, but the problem they had was that it was a concentrated one-act pony, while other vendors had complex EMM type of suites."

There is still demand for stand-alone MAM, but most EMM vendors now offer that as an option as well. That has hurt Apperian's ability to be an independent company, Gold said. 

"If you are not a total suite, people expect you to come with a bigger play," he said.

Apperian also ran into issues marketing to customers -- explaining what it could do well, why businesses need MAM and its go-to-market strategy -- said Eric Klein, director of mobile software at VDC Research Group Inc. in Natick, Mass.

"They didn't articulate the value proposition they had very well, which was detrimental to them becoming sustainable from a growth perspective."

They didn't articulate the value proposition they had very well.
Eric Kleindirector of mobile software, VDC Research Group

Boston-based Apperian was founded in 2009 as an enterprise mobile app development firm. The acquisition news comes on the heels of the departure of CEO Brian Day. Day, who served as CEO for two years and spent the three previous years as CFO, joined unified communications vendor Fuze as its CFO last month.

"Before Day came in [as CEO], [Apperian] wasn't a strong company," Klein said. "Day ... repositioned the company, but the way he parted without the company announcing a new CEO showed me that they didn't succeed."

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