Apple device management is the beating heart of the mobile hybrid enterprise, and vendors supporting Apple’s mobile device management (MDM) platform are investing in their pursuit of future growth. At this stage in the evolution of the Apple device management industry, it appears that we are on the brink of a merger and acquisition frenzy as players in that space seek to build unique identities designed to drive future growth.
Activity in the sector is increasing
Jamf, arguably one of the largest companies in the Apple MDM business, has invested heavily in businesses and services to expand the suite of security and device management tools it can offer its customers. These extend to powerful content monitoring, zero trust, and endpoint management.
Jamf CIO Linh Lam recently noted the acceleration of Apple’s status in the enterprise market and predicted: “Due to the way demand is growing and the expectations of younger generations entering the workforce, Apple devices will be the key endpoint by 2030. to be.”
More recently, we’ve begun to see entities outside the Apple device management space looking for a way to get in. VMWare’s $1.17 billion acquisition of AirWatch in 2014 showed what was to come. Ivanti bought MobileIron in 2021. More recently, GoTo is in the process of acquiring cloud-based cross-platform device management provider Miradore. And arguably one of the bigger illustrations of this kind was Apple’s 2020 acquisition of MDM vendor Fleetsmith, whose solutions have now rolled within Apple Business Essentials.
Elsewhere, Hexnode has partnered with Keeper Security; JumpCloud acquired MYKI in February to expand its cloud directory platform; Kandji continues to raise investment capital while playing its own long game; Addigy works with Acronis (the latter also works with Jamf); and Mosyle recently closed a $196 million financing round and introduced new solutions for enterprise customers.
The irresistible force
This activity has a purpose, of course. As enterprises become increasingly digitized, the device management market is expected to be worth $28.7 billion by 2027.
To put that figure in context, that’s about four times the existing value, meaning there’s huge room for growth in the space, especially around Apple devices.
We looked earlier at the acceleration there, as Mac and iOS now collectively account for about 23% of the global consumer market for mobile phones/PCs and a larger share of the enterprise/knowledge worker markets. When it comes to the Mac, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa recently predicted that Apple will capture 10.7% of the PC market by 2026 if Windows share falls. And of course, a 2021 Dimensional Research survey found that 85% of IT decision makers say Apple devices are more secure.
With hundreds of millions of PC replacements in sight, with old Windows OS installations expiring and companies trying to secure all endpoints from catastrophic corporate failures, the Apple side of this equation remains a very attractive target for all of these parties (and a few that I probably forgot ).
By freeing up space in these markets, Apple MDM vendors are under some pressure to expand the functionality of the solutions they provide while establishing their own unique market position.
Many hope to achieve this by expanding their core products with tools for security, remote support and collaboration or by specializing in the needs of vertical markets such as education, healthcare and manufacturing.
Why a wave of acquisitions is on the way
Of course, with SAP, BlackBerry, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Sophos, SOTI and others also competing for some or all of the same company, smaller suppliers have to work hard to develop their own unique offerings. This suggests (at least to my jaded mind) that at some point we will see a wave of mergers and acquisitions relatively soon as larger entities pick up some of the smaller companies in an effort to offer more effective cross-platform MDM tools to enterprise customers. and ensure growth in a challenging market.
Much now depends on platform vendors, including Apple. MDM solution providers live and die by the power of the APIs made available to them, meaning the addition of features and functionality is equally dependent on such system-level support.
Nevertheless, if there is a seemingly untapped space associated with these technologies, it likely extends to remote collaboration and autonomous security solutions.
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