Apple has acquired the device management startup Fleetsmith. The technology and staff that will join Apple as part of the acquisition could help Apple expand device enrollment and introduce better ways to configure new devices like iPads and Macs within organizations.
Fleetsmith’s proposal for customers (and Apple) seems to be perfectly suited to our times: The company offers a way for organizations to equip the devices of remote workers (or workers who are not otherwise in the central office) and have those devices automatically registered and configured for business use it as soon as they power on for the first time. After that, Fleetsmith automatically ensures that devices receive the necessary software updates. It also provides IT managers with a dashboard to manage the fleet.
If you have used Jamf, a more widespread competitor, you have the general idea. But Fleetsmith already had a special focus on Apple devices, has a design sensitivity similar to Apple’s, and was probably a much cheaper option for Apple than Jamf. Jamf appears to be on a different path, with a $ 3 billion IPO planned.
However, speaking of money, neither Apple nor Fleetsmith have disclosed the purchase price. However, Fleetsmith did publish a blog post about the acquisition. Here is some of what it says:
We started Fleetsmith to balance IT security and management needs with the experience that users love from Mac, iPad, and iPhone. We are proud of the incredibly talented team we have built and that we have stayed true to our mission: to make powerful and secure Apple fleet management available to everyone.
We are delighted to join Apple. Our shared values of putting the customer at the center of everything we do without sacrificing privacy and security means that we can truly fulfill our mission, delivering Fleetsmith to companies and institutions of all sizes, worldwide.
The publication also notes that Fleetsmith will continue to serve new and existing customers, so this is not an acquisition solely of intellectual property or human capital. It looks like Fleetsmith, as we know, will continue to work.
Apple is unlikely to stop working with Jamf in the near future, but with this acquisition of Fleetsmith, Cupertino clearly has some special plans for its own internal device management strategy. We just have to wait and see what they are.