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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Apple ready to scrape device management division

Apple recently announced that it would cut support for FleetSmith, the mobile device management solution it bought in 2020, as competitors can swoop in to claim a bigger stake in the growing enterprise business.

Apple released a support document saying it has stopped new signups for Fleetsmith and that existing customers will need to find a new solution by October 21. The tech giant’s gamble to become a player in the competitive MDM market clearly didn’t go according to plan.

Fleetsmith introduced a more comprehensive suite of features that would have put Apple’s offering in direct competition with MDM software from Edgy, Moselle, Jamf, or Kandji. But it appears that Apple has opted to use some core elements — and key employee talent — from FleetSmith to create its own Business Essentials solution targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

In the support document, Apple encourages existing Fleetsmith users to choose third-party MDMs. Apple offers a stripped-down turnkey MDM solution called Business Essentials (now in beta testing), but those looking for advanced features and security controls will have to turn to one of the bigger MDM competitors. Apple does not link to its own MDM offerings in the support documentation.

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Edgy founder and CEO Jason Dateburn told CRN US that the writing was on the wall because Fleetsmith customers were constantly leaving the service. He added that MSPs with smaller customers still tied to FleetSmith’s system can quickly get bogged down in trying to move them to a new service. To make things easier, Adige is offering its no-cost solution until October, for Fleetsmith customers who are in the throes. “We’ve certainly received a lot of inquiries (after Fleesmith’s announcement),” Detburn said.

Addyg will also provide the migration utilities needed to make the switch. “I’m definitely concerned for the customers. Apple moves at a very high speed, so they don’t really take their time and push people gracefully through things like this … and people get it. It is left to figure out how to deal with it.”

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Nick Edmondson, senior vice president of strategy for Jamf, declined to comment specifically on FleetSmith’s move, but told CRN US in an email, “Apple’s momentum in the enterprise isn’t slowing down… Are looking for a management and security vendor that is Apple-best, is easy to scale with, and fills the gap between the security that Apple provides and the security expertise needed by the business. Partnerships are rare, as most device management and security vendors today are built primarily for older devices and limit the intended Apple experience.”

Mosile, another competitor in the MDM sector, this week announced the closing of US$196 million in venture capital — showing interest in the space is still red hot.

Apple never publicly announced its purchase of Fleetsmith, so the details of the deal were never disclosed. Fleetwood raised approximately US$30 million in funding in the year prior to the buyout.

Apple did not respond to messages seeking comment.

This article was originally published on crn.com

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