Short cuts 62
by Paul Stephens
Paul Stephens takes a sideways look at the world of IT.
HardCopy Issue: 62 | Published: February 25, 2014
VMware isn’t a company known for rash acquisitions, so when we read that it was paying $1.54 billion to buy into the cheap furniture market we were surprised to say the least. This turned out to be a misapprehension, as we’d confused MDM, the sector in which VMware’s newly-acquired AirWatch subsidiary operates, with MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and MFI (retailer of MDF-based bargain bedroom suites). Even so $1.54 billion is a lot of money, especially when you’re paying in hard cash rather than stock, so we were keen to find out more.
MDM, it turns out, stands for Mobile Device Management, and it’s the hottest sector since the last hottest sector (whose name escapes us) in the permanently-overheated enterprise mobile market. It was born of the realisation that any mobile devices which have access to sensitive corporate data are also very probably running unfeasibly cheap Chinese productivity software as well as the NSA’s favourite app, Angry Birds. MDM keeps the two separate, adding another layer to the infrastructure a typical mobile processor has to munch its way through before getting to the important stuff (i.e. a really good level with glass bricks and those really big birds that flatten everything in their path).
We have to admit that we’re not totally convinced by MDM – on iOS it’s hard to imagine what the machine would actually be allowed to do once not only Apple but a third party killjoy too had finished telling it what it couldn’t, while on Android the device would be free to do stuff, but wouldn’t have any processor cycles left once MDM plus the irremovable bloatware installed by both Google and the hardware vendor had taken their share. Still, those guys at VMware know their stuff, so there must be something in it. Perhaps this is where Windows RT is really going to come into its own.
Pick of the Stocks
MDM stock is a tad expensive following the AirWatch acquisition, but there are plenty of other mobile sectors just waiting for investors to get in on the ground floor. Here are Short Cuts’ top buys:
IDM – Immobile Device Management. As the backlash against mobile grows, IDM is the new hot ticket for technology sector investors. Leading products include “Hell No It Won’t Go!” from Arkansas vendor PinItDown Inc (formerly Little Rock Nail and Rivet), whose iOS 7-compatible 3-inch galvanised anti-mobility devices (hammer included) gained a 48 percent market share in Q4 2013.
IBM – Inadequate BYOD Management. This sector automates the sensitive process of telling key personnel that the iPhone 4S they’ve finally managed to master isn’t really up to the job of connecting to a virtualised SharePoint server in order to insert live sales data into next year’s projections presentation, and would be better deployed playing the new album from the winner of The Voice. Key ‘Buy’ stocks include SizeMatters Inc, vendors of leading package SizeMatters 2013 R2 (Professional and Enterprise editions available), which looks a cert for a juicy 25 times earnings bid from either Google or Intel by Q3.
MDI – Mobile Device Interruption. Based on behavioural science nudge theory, MDI tackles the problem of excess social media use during working hours without resorting to demotivating blocking techniques. Instead market leader BeadyEye Pro interrupts social app sessions with motivational pop-up messages including “Your friends already know about that dog soprano video – how about rehearsing tomorrow’s equipment-leasing sales presentation instead?” and “Getting some work done instead of wearing your fingers out on WhatsApp could mean you end up on the permanent staff with holidays and sick pay” (requires zero-hours add-on pack). BeadyCorp is looking to IPO in Q4, so make sure you short your favourite server manufacturer early to get liquid in time.
IBS – (that’s enough TLAs – ed)
So this really is goodbye…
Last issue we got a bit emotional over the forthcoming departure of ultra-colourful Microsoft CEO Steve ‘Mad Dog’ Ballmer, but took solace in the fact that he wouldn’t actually be going until his replacement had been appointed. Well now it’s happened, and Steve really is on his way.
His successor is Satya Nadella, former Executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Satya’s a 22-year Microsoft veteran, so he won’t need Bill Gates to give him a guided tour of the Redmond campus. That said he may get one anyway, as Bill is taking on a new role as Technology Advisor, in which he’ll “devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.” The words “seat”, “back” and “driver” come to mind, although that could just be our jaundiced industry view.
Either way, Short Cuts would like to offer its warmest congratulations to Satya on his appointment. Watching his inaugural video interview he does seem more Tim Cook than Screaming Lord Steve, but then no-one was ever going to fill Ballmer’s shoes entirely. We wish him luck.