Google buys Divide to conquer Apple in the enterprise
Google's acquisition of cloud-based mobile device management startup Divide is seen as a move by the search giant to translate Android's popularity in the consumer market into uptake in the enterprise market, particularly for BYOD environments.
Currently, devices running Apple's iOS are preferred by IT managers when it comes to BYOD, notes Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys. iOS is much easier to set up and more secure than Android, Jones tells The Wall Street Journal. In addition, Apple vets all apps before they get onto the App Store, significantly reducing the threat that iOS devices will download malware.
Android reputation for being a fragmented and insecure operating system has definitely hurt its penetration of the enterprise market. As part of Google, Divide will give Android a more secure and manageable face for CIOs and IT departments considering or implementing BYOD programs.
Manufacturers of Android handsets, particularly Samsung, have tried to offer enterprises secure mobility management platforms to ease security concerns. For example, Samsung's Knox platform comes with a National Security Agency-developed security system, including a containerized solution that separates personal from corporate data.
With the Divide acquisition, Google will no longer have to rely on individual manufacturers to increase Android acceptance in the enterprise.
Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst with J. Gold Associates, tells FierceMobileIT that Divide provides "basically a container" that separates corporate from personal data on the mobile device.
"If Google takes Divide and puts it in the [Android] OS, where it really belongs, then it will be universal and the manufacturers won't have to do something unique," he adds.
Jones agrees. Buying Divide "will help Google build security and control into the Android operating system. This is a smart move and probably something Google should have done earlier," he says.
Amit Chowdhry, a tech writer and Forbes contributor, opines that Divide will now "focus on making Android devices more enterprise-friendly. Divide sets up an encrypted workspace so users do not have to worry about privacy or about the company wiping the device."
Chowdhry notes that Google was already an investor in Divide, formerly known as Enterproid and founded by Morgan Stanley execs David Zhu, Alexander Trewby and Andrew Toy.