The days of IT handing out a standard device across the company and maintaining a perimeter fence with known holes are fading fast. Employee preferences and modern applications are driving alternative device types while data security makes national news on a nightly basis these days. The opportunity to embrace alternative computing devices is massive and the requirement to simultaneously tighten policy and control is a must have for organization that are serious about their mobility efforts.
VMware isn't a stranger to this space and has evolved its solutions from basic desktops hosted in the data center, commonly referred to as VDI, PC lifecycle management, and a control plane that connects devices to multiple consumption models with Horizon. Also remember that VMware Fusion is a leading desktop virtualization solution for Mac. So, to see them purchase a significant player in the MDM (mobile device management) space speaks volumes to how serious they are about the opportunity in the mobility market.
AirWatch should be considered complementary to existing desktop delivery solutions VMware has in play in the market today. VMware has relationships with some of the largest and most sophisticated businesses that are struggling with ways to embrace devices and manage the data on the devices all while driving improved productivity. Frankly, my bet is that its current offerings fell short of what these companies required and they needed to make an investment or risk widening the gap from what the competition is offering today. They also likely saw how they can do some leapfrogging in the market at the same time.
VMware has the benefit of a loyal customer base and the market timing of mobility being a top priority that IT is actively addressing. The question still remains over whether MDM is a stop gap as modern mobile application development evolves, but as the market and businesses wrestle over this dilemma, VMware sure did position itself to take advantage of the market opportunity and engage with its customers to solve today's cumbersome mobility challenges.