IBM Buys Worklight, Unveils Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices

IBM buys Israeli firm Worklight and opens up the beta for its IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, new tools in its arsenal to help IT better control and secure employees’ tablets and mobile devices. Chris Miller knows why.

ARMONK, NY: IBM today announced its intent to acquire Israeli firm Worklight for an as yet undisclosed amount.

Worklight offers a range of software and services, but the interesting one to IBM, according to exec comments, is the software and platform it offers for managing mobile devices, including remotely controlling and wiping them.

“Worklight will become an important piece of IBM’s mobility strategy,” IBM execs said in a prepared statement. Its technology is critical toward IBM’s mobility push with the enterprise, which is struggling to deal with explosive mobile growth.

To get an idea of what IBM is buying in a little more depth, we took a screenshot of Worklight’s “audience” page.

Screenshot: Gina Smith

IBM did say that, among other features, the Worklight platform will provide an API for apps to more closely monitor what’s on their employees mobile devices and smartphones, and help “secure connections between smartphone and tablet applications with enterprise IT systems,” execs said, adding they expect the acquisition to complete by the end of 1Q12.

So what does this mean? It means that IBM is jumping into the industry that’s rapidly building up around the consumerization of IT trend. That trend is shaking up enterprise, which is trying to figure out in general how to secure personal services and gadgets. Such technology as what IBM bought today aids IT in remotely controlling, backing up and wiping enterprise information on tablets and smartphones.

IBM has in its portfolio some products offering mail and secure connectivity capabilities for Apple iOS, Android and Windows Mobile — specifically Mobile Connect and Lotus Traveler. Now it’s added Workplace to its offerings.

In related news, IBM also unveiled the beta version of its Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices today, a service that will offer VPN, password policies, encryption standards, non-compliant device identification and even denial of such devices until they meet company standards, execs said. “Enterprises can (use EMMD) to leverage the BigFix infrastructure to secure and manage traditional endpoints as well as Apple iOS, Google Android, Symbian, and Microsoft Windows Phone devices,” they add in a statement on the EMMD website.

EMMD also works from the corporate user side, enabling employees to “manage and secure their mobile devices,” IBM execs said in a statement.

With the purchase of Worklight and unveiling of EMMD, IBM adds to its already beefy set of mobile management tools for IT — and it likely is buying patents around mobile device management sorely needed in the BYOD space, too, with this acquisition.

IBM is the No. 1 patent holder. Stay tuned.


IBM reached out into the social media channels today with a hashtag conversation around #ibmmobile.

While it was ultra loose and not generating a ton of traffic, it was an interesting way forĀ  IBM to have an open channel conversation.