Network infrastructure provider Juniper Networks Inc. announced this week it will purchase SMobile Systems Inc., which makes security software for smartphones and tablets, for $70 million in cash. SMobile's products target viruses, spyware, identity theft and other threats on devices running on Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Nokia's Symbian, Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating systems for the enterprise, service providers and consumers. They also provide parental and enterprise controls and compliance enforcement.
The acquisition will let Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper add SMobile's product portfolio to its Junos Pulse software platform for security on smartphones, tablets, netbooks and notebooks. By 2014, the mobile client security market is expected to reach more than $1 billion, according to Infonetics Research, as smartphones are used more frequently to access and exchange corporate data.
"Security breaches in today's mobile environment are growing threats that impact everyone," said Mark Bauhaus, executive vice president and general manager, Services Layer Technologies at Juniper Networks, in a statement. Juniper claims more than 25 million customers who connect their PCs and smartphones to corporate networks. The acquisition will extend Juniper's market share specifically in the SSL VPN segment, giving its products new capabilities and wider device coverage, Bauhaus said in a blog posting.
Mobile security on all devices is critical for consumers as they download content and conduct online banking transactions. Employees connecting to a corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN) need to ensure there is no malware on the device itself, even if the network gives them the green light, officials said. Carriers are also interested in offering security features as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. "The SMobile mission has always been to secure, manage and control all mobile devices, ensuring the Internet in your hand is safe and reliable - for enterprises, consumers and service providers," said Neil Book, president and CEO of SMobile, based in Columbus, Ohio, in a statement.
Under the terms of the acquisition, SMobile's 30 employees will work for Juniper. The deal is expected to be finalized within days.