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Updated on Dec. 18, 2013 to reflect the acquisition’s close

IBM just snapped up another company — its eighth in 18 months — to replace its poorly regarded mobile device management (MDM) offering.

IBM today announced its intention to buy Fiberlink Communications, which offers a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) solution under the brand MaaS360. In a call with VentureBeat, neither company would disclose the terms of the deal. IBM closed the acquisition on Dec. 18, 2013.

Big Blue plans to offer Maas360 as a service that runs on its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure, though it will also be offered as an on-premise solution.

The Fiberlink acquisition nicely complements IBM’s Aug. 2013 purchase of Trusteer, a company that secures mobile transactions.

“It’s not just about BYOD [bring your own device],” IBM’s director of mobile security, Caleb Barlow, told VentureBeat. “It’s about how do I protect the device, how do I protect the transactions, and how do I roll that all into a secure intelligence layer.”

MaaS360 offers mobile device management, application management, and containerization (which effectively means you can separate work data and apps from personal stuff). The service is highly regarded for its ease of installation and use.

Fiberlink has about 400 employees worldwide. According to the company’s CEO, Jim Sheward, the acquisition won’t really change day-to-day operations at Fiberlink — though he’s looking forward to bringing MaaS360 to SoftLayer.

Fiberlink services around 3,500 customers in industries like banking, healthcare, and manufacturing. Some of its more prominent clients include Shell, Vodafone, and MasterCard.


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