Red Hat and Samsung announce strategic alliance for mobile enterprise

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Ask any executive about news regarding two companies who have come together and harnessed their strengths for enterprise mobile solutions, and the answer would be straightforward. But this time, it’s not Apple and IBM: Red Hat and Samsung have announced a “strategic alliance” to deliver solutions for organisations looking to implement a mobile-first strategy.

Starting off in the US, Samsung Business Services and Red Hat will look to deliver several key products, including a series of enterprise-ready, industry-specific mobile applications – rather like Apple and IBM – as well as a new developer ecosystem, integrated global support services and business collaboration. The apps will predominantly run on Android, and will integrate into common backend systems.

“We are excited to collaborate with Red Hat to deliver the next generation of mobile enterprise applications and solutions, and are committed to shaping the future of innovation,” said Robin Bienfait, Samsung chief enterprise innovation officer. “Samsung firmly believes that strategic alliances with organisations such as Red Hat that deliver open source enterprise infrastructure and provide reliable, secure integration from the back end to the end user will help businesses more readily adopt a mobile first environment.”

Craig Muzilla, SVP application platforms business at Red Hat, added: “We believe deeply in the power of collaboration, and we’re excited to join with Samsung in not only delivering a new generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise, but in empowering customers to achieve new levels of innovation in mobile.”

On the surface, the move is interesting. The two companies cite the breadth of Samsung’s mobile device portfolio – which you can’t really argue with – and Red Hat’s expertise in open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies, again a strong claim.

Samsung’s previous mobility plays include Samsung 360 Services, a one stop shop for enterprise mobile support, while Red Hat’s push into mobility has been exacerbated by the acquisition of mobile backend provider FeedHenry and the rebranding of its mobile platform, announced last week.

The prevalence of Android in the enterprise is also an important point to note; if it’s an Android device, it’s most likely to be Samsung, as Fiberlink data from 2014 shows. Google announced the Android for Work initiative in February this year, addressing some of the problems associated with deploying Android devices for business, such as fragmentation and security. Samsung is somewhat outside of that, but has its own security play in Samsung KNOX – if you’ve got a few moments spare, the company has a comparison document between KNOX and Android for Work here.

Good Technology, whose quarterly Mobility Index is one of the cornerstones of data regarding device deployment, puts Android at just over a quarter (26%) of all devices. Good is one of the few vendors not associated with Android for Work, yet the company partners with Samsung for KNOX – a product set which was described as “very well received by the more cautious customers.”

It’s tempting to compare Red Hat and Samsung’s alliance in the context of Apple and IBM, which also targets building industry-specific enterprise apps, as well as provides support. Announced just short of a year ago, with occasional updates since then, Red Hat and Samsung have a lot of work to do to catch up. Yet the two companies already have an open source ‘synergy’, as Muzilla recently put it. Now, it’s about leveraging Android to a competitive advantage.

 

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