Citrix Buys Zenprise In Evolving BYOD Strategy

Remember when Citrix built software like XenApp, delivering virtualization technology that tapped into the data center and managed software such as Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V? We do, too. But with its new acquisition of mobile-device manager Zenprise, Citrix is signaling a shift away from managing backend infrastructure to handling devices that workers already own.

In other words, by acquiring Zenprise for an undisclosed sum, Citrix is buying into the whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. The acquisition isn’t about tapping into the power of the data center: it’s about managing it, applying approved methods to access into distribute corporate apps and data. Enterprise IT managers will eventually be able to tie the Zenprise solution into the Citrix CloudGateway and Me@Work software.

For Citrix, the deal is less about virtualization than about transforming any device into a workstation. “For those customers who have followed Citrix’s journey—they are well aware of our value proposition of “any-any-any,” Sumit Dhawan, group vice president and general manager of Citrix, in a corporate blog posting. “Giving users access to any app on any device, anywhere. As users and businesses become increasingly mobile, Zenprise and CloudGateway become key ingredients of our solution.”

During a Dec. 5 conference call, Dhawan added:

“When we look at all enterprise customers, large to small, they’re experiencing a big change within the environment, with employees bringing their own mobile devices to work to be productive… and customers are looking for a complete solution to manage their apps and data.”

In October, Citrix announced Citrix Me@Work, a complete mobile app family built for business. Features include Citrix ShareFile for secure mobile data access, Citrix GoToMeeting for integrated mobile collaboration, Podio for social team collaboration, and the new Citrix @WorkMail and @WorkWeb apps for secure mobile email and web access.

On Thursday, Citrix unveiled the next release of its CloudGateway software, which includes @WorkMail, an email, calendar, and contacts app that leverages the Citrix MDX mobile technologies; @WorkWeb,a secure browser that can connect to an internal Web network, SaaS, and HTML5 Web apps; and MDX enhancements with mobile device-level protections that can block functions such as the phone camera and copy-and-paste.

“When we met Citrix and started going through the acquisition, it made a lot of sense to us, because Citrix has been in the business of enablement for a long time. Citrix’s business has been on apps. In the past, apps were relatively easy—they were mostly the Windows world,” said Amit Pandey, the chief executive of ZenPrise. “And as we’ve moved into mobile, there are apps of all flavors, all sizes, all types, on multiple platforms.”


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