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LANDesk-AppSense acquisition fills virtualization void

LANDesk will bundle AppSense's software with its existing desktop and mobile device management offerings, giving customers more options for end-user environments.

With the LANDesk-AppSense acquisition, customers will be able to get physical and virtual desktop and mobility management all in one offering.

LANDesk, a veteran of the desktop management market, said this week it will acquire AppSense, a popular provider of user environment management software for desktop virtualization, for an undisclosed sum.

Customers are loyal to AppSense because of its strong technical support, and there is concern the support desk won't maintain its quality after the LANDesk acquisition, said Allen Vaughn, a systems engineer at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, Ill.

"In 25 years, AppSense is the only vendor I've ever been able to call and get a tech-support person to answer, without the phone ringing more than twice," said Vaughn, an AppSense customer for the past five years. "It is the reason I am strongly behind them, because there is nothing more frustrating than sitting on the phone, going through the basic questions and feeling like no one on the other end takes ownership of the issue."

LANDesk promised to keep the same AppSense technical support teams in place, CEO Steve Daly said. The vendor, based in South Jordan, Utah, will also add a customer-support manager to check in with larger customers regularly.

AppSense's Application Manager -- part of its DesktopNow Suite for centralized virtual, physical and cloud desktop management -- is the company's biggest asset, Vaughn said. Application Manager protects against various security threats, such as ransomware and malware, by banning users from installing files and applications that could compromise corporate data.

"AppSense makes it simpler [for IT] to say what's allowable and what isn't," Vaughn said. "It closes those threat vectors that are continually changing."

AppSense plugs hole in LANDesk portfolio

The acquisition comes as LANDesk, a 31-year-old desktop management company, desperately needed to add virtualization management, Daly said.

"That was one of the strategic reasons we did it," he said. "We didn't have an answer in the past. AppSense has had the technology for a while."

The vendor previously added mobile device management by acquiring Wavelink in 2012.

AppSense has been around since 1999, and it became popular in the desktop virtualization market because of its ability to move content based on user profiles across PCs.

Under the deal, which is expected to close within the next 30 days, LANDesk plans to keep AppSense as a separate brand name, Daly said. The company will offer the ability to bundle its desktop management, Wavelink mobility management and AppSense's virtualization software at one per-user price at any combination, giving customers the flexibility to mix and match products.

"A big part of frustration for AppSense adopters is the application sprawl that has occurred with their product line and the loss of focus on the core products," said Mike Nelson, an infrastructure architect at a Wisconsin-based mutual insurance company. "LANDesk has a very solid and faithful customer base, and I think the integration of the products will prove to be beneficial across the board."

This modernizes the perception of LANDesk, because folks using virtual client computing know who AppSense is.
Robert Youngresearch director at IDC

LANDesk also plans to expand the reach of AppSense's products by adding support for more languages. AppSense has historically been an "English-only" product, whereas LANDesk supports 11 different languages, Daly said.

In addition, LANDesk will add an online community for customers to discuss best practices for dealing with certain issues with AppSense and LANDesk's offerings.

Pulling EUC together

There is a need for end-user computing vendors to offer more complete approaches to endpoint management, said Robert Young, research director at IDC. Some companies offer enterprise mobility management and physical desktop management, but not virtualization, and others have virtualization and EMM, but not desktop management, he said.

Going forward, it will be important to offer the full spectrum, and that is what LANDesk is trying to do, Young said.

"For LANDesk to stay competitive, they need to have products that offer a more complete portfolio," Young said. "This modernizes the perception of LANDesk, because folks using virtual client computing know who AppSense is."

Desktop virtualization companies could see more acquisitions by large vendors who are missing that piece to the puzzle, said Tyler Rohrer, co-founder and director of alliances at Liquidware Labs Inc., an AppSense competitor in Alpharetta, Ga.

"Some very unique companies want to participate in desktop virtualization," he said. "I think it will be an exciting spring and summertime."

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