Google makes bigger push into enterprise with Divide acquisition

Corporate device policy firm Divide has announced that it is to be acquired by Google.

The announcement was posted on Divide’s website late last night, with the likely destination for the company to be helping Android become more enterprise-friendly.

“The company was founded with a simple mission: Give people the best mobile experience at work,” a statement reads. “As part of the Android team, we’re excited to continue developing solutions that our users love.”

Divide confirmed there would be no changes in its product for existing users. Currently, Divide’s basic service is available for free, but the beefier enterprise option will set companies back $60 per user per year.

The company was founded by former Morgan Stanley execs who shared “the belief that BYOD was going to dramatically alter the IT landscape and usher in a new wave of mobility,” according to the company’s website, and had two rounds of funding led in part by Google Ventures, having raised a total of $25m in capital over four years.

It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Google has invested in a project only to later buy the whole operation – the $3.2bn acquisition of Nest in January is a prime example of that.

While that’s significantly more than the capital raised for Divide – financial terms of the acquisition itself weren’t disclosed – the deal appears to solidify Google’s intent in the enterprise market – and specifically for Android.

Google has been working on its own ChromeOS for a number of years, with the search giant continually stating there are no plans to merge it with Android. Rumours have long been spread that Google is going to ditch its Droid for ChromeOS, with Anton Wahlman writing pretty much one year ago: “The biggest smartphone technology event in a decade may be just one year away.”

If that might a little optimistic, nevertheless Android remains something of a second-class citizen in the enterprise. Even though MDM vendors are increasingly rolling out Android support, the containerised, open layout of the operating system puts CIOs and IT directors off it for corporate data, as a recent survey by Good Technology revealed.

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