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Sybase Afaria: It's Good To Be King (Of Mobile Device Management)

For the 9th year in a row, Sybase Afaria reigns supreme in the mobile device management market, according to IDC. Wonder who Sybase beat? Read on.

Market researchers IDC Corp. just came out with their Worldwide Mobile Device Management Enterprise 2010–2014 Forecast and 2009 Vendor Shares report. For the 9th year in a row, Sybase came out on top, with a 19.7% share of the market.

Due to publishing restrictions from IDC, I can't mention the rankings and shares of competing mobile device management vendors. But suffice to say that our one-fifth slice of the market puts us comfortably ahead of the 24 other vendors.

The field is filled with formidable competitors. There are the large systems management vendors such as BMC, CA, HP, IBM Tivoli, Microsoft (with ActiveSync), Novell, Symantec and others. There are also mobility vendors, led by RIM, Motorola, Good Technology and ourselves.

There are also pure-play mobile device management ISVs such as MobileIron, Odyssey, SOTI and others. And still other mobility companies such as BoxTone and Tangoe. And Sybase came out on top of them.

Moreover, the pie is getting bigger and bigger, agrees IDC.

"The increasing acceptance of individual-liable devices in the enterprise will continue to be an important driver of activity in the mobile device management market throughout the forecast period. This is due to the increased number of mobile operating systems that IT will have to support as well as the added security risks these devices can present," wrote Stacy Crook, senior research analyst with IDC, in a summary related to the report.

Our Afaria partners say that corporations are slowly - but surely - getting comfortable with the idea of letting their employees bring their own devices to work.

"Executives want to know how they can carry one device at work, and they've been asking the IT department how to make it happen," said Cliff Cibelli, group manager for mobility solutions at Verizon Business.

Verizon has been reselling Afaria as a managed service for the past 11 months. While declining to release specifics, Cibelli said, "the momentum is definitely there. The pipeline is huge. There is not a single Verizon customer who is not asking 'how do I do this?'"

The biggest driver remains simply helping IT departments deliver corporate e-mail securely to an employee's personal smartphone. But other companies are also adopting it for more advanced workflow applications or even sales enablement tools, which can be very compelling due to their ROI.

For legacy reasons, most of the smartphones being managed today by Verizon are still running Windows Mobile, said Cibelli.

That's going to change by year's end, as companies move to Google Android 2.2 and iPhone iOS 4, he said.

Afaria will match this with better Android and iOS 4 support in this September's release of Afaria 6.6. Verizon will support Afaria 6.6 within 45 days of its release, Cibelli said.

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