IBM buys Worklight for mobile software platform
 
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IBM on Tuesday announced plans to buy Worklight, a move that will give it a range of cross-platform mobile application development technologies. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, were not disclosed.

Worklight, which is based in Israel, had already partnered with IBM. Its technologies include Worklight Studio, an Eclipse-based IDE (integrated development environment) and Worklight Server, described on the company's website as a "secure and scalable gateway between applications, external services, and the enterprise backend infrastructure."

The Worklight platform is suitable for developing mobile applications for both consumers and enterprises, as well as targeted toward various industry verticals, IBM said. It includes SDKs (software development kits) for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows mobile devices, and "enables rich, cross-platform apps without requiring code translation, proprietary interpreters or unpopular programming languages," according to Worklight's site.

Also Tuesday, IBM announced IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, a software platform companies can use to secure and manage employees smartphones, tablets and laptops. The software is based on technology IBM acquired through its 2010 purchase of BigFix.

Customers will be able to use the system to remove sensitive data from devices that become lost or stolen, as well as determine whether a device is meeting security compliance rules, IBM said in a statement.

IBM's close partner SAP is also trying to become a major player in mobility through its 2010 acquisition of Sybase. That deal provided SAP with the widely used Sybase Unwired mobile middleware and Afaria device management platform.

IBM to help enterprises go mobile

IBM took steps on Monday to help enterprises go mobile, introducing a set of software and services called Mobile Foundation.

The portfolio includes offerings derived from IBM's January acquisition of Worklight, a vendor of cross-platform mobile application development tools. But the introductions also extended to management products for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs and, not surprisingly from IBM, strategy and deployment services.

Mobile Foundation was introduced at IBM's Impact2012 conference in Las Vegas. IBM said it was zeroing in on the growing market for enterprise mobile capabilities, citing its own survey of 700 CIOs that found three-quarters of them were embracing mobile technology to make work in their companies more flexible. The popularity of smartphones and tablets for doing work has brought more mobile devices into enterprises and raised concerns about supporting and securing them.

For developers, IBM is introducing IBM Worklight, a set of development and integration tools that allow developers to write applications and other mobile software just one time for deployment across Apple iOS, Google Android and Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform. To go along with those tools, the company is offering resources through its DeveloperWorks site.

For administrators, IBM is rolling out software from IBM Endpoint Manager for managing all types of endpoints on a network and making them secure. The software spans servers to mobile devices and can carry out critical tasks such as wiping the data and applications off a mobile device when those resources could be at risk, IBM said.

IBM also added ways for enterprises to bring their current data and services to mobile devices. New capabilities in IBM DataPower appliances are designed to help IT departments quickly bring their existing resources to mobile devices. WebSphere Cast Iron, based on technology the company acquired through its 2010 buyout of hybrid cloud software vendor Cast Iron, can help enterprises link mobile applications to clouds and other back-end infrastructure, according to IBM.

The company also announced that service offerings, including IBM Quick Win Pilot, can now help enterprises plan and carry out a mobile strategy. Through Quick Win Pilot, companies will be able to do a 10-week pilot of IBM Mobile technology to observe the results, the company said.

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