VMware, Okta Unveil Pact to Take on Microsoft in Mobile Security

(Bloomberg) -- VMware Inc. and Okta Inc. unveiled a partnership meant to challenge Microsoft Corp. in the market for mobile-device security systems, as corporate employees increasingly work at home or on the road.

The pact between the former competitors promises complete integration of two overlapping product offerings. Joint customers will be able to use VMware’s digital workspace platform and Okta’s software that enables secure logins to access business smartphones, laptops, tablets, cloud applications and network information.

The companies said that their joint offering integrates with products from Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Windows devices more seamlessly than Microsoft’s mobility suite, which they said doesn’t do as good a job connecting to other companies’ devices.

“Microsoft has a lot of different customers and tools, but they don’t have all of them,” Todd McKinnon, Okta’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.

A representative for Microsoft declined to comment, but said the company’s enterprise mobility customers totaled 73,000 in the last quarter, a 53 percent jump from a year earlier. 

As part of the agreement, Okta agreed to wind down its mobility management service that competed against VMware. The burgeoning partnership may expand over time, VMware Chief Operating Officer Sanjay Poonen said in an interview. The two companies are currently discussing the possibility of selling one another’s products.

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