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December 21, 2006

Hewlett-Packard acquires Bitfone for mobile device management

Hewlett-Packard Co has acquired Bitfone Corp in order to add software that controls the delivery of email to mobile phones to its vast product portfolio.

By CBR Staff Writer

According to HP, the acquisition is part of its strategy to grow its mobile enterprise business. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming part of the core IT infrastructure and there is a growing requirement that they need to fit into existing management systems and frameworks, the company said.

Founded in 2000, Laguna Niguel, California-based Bitfone is privately held, but its software is used by some of the largest players in the mobile arena including Motorola, Samsung, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, Freescale Semiconductor, China Mobile, and T-Mobile International.

It has received over $70m in funding over the past six years and employs approximately 130 staff in across the US, Canada, the UK, South Korea, Japan, and China. ComputerWire tracked a $21.5m Series C funding round in March 2004, and a $1.4m Series B round in June 2003. Investors included Motorola, Qualcomm, 3i, and Flextronics.

Bitfone was one of the pioneers of the firmware over-the-air update market and its product portfolio consists of the mProve product suite, which is a client-side device management solution for OEMs. The other part is FusionDM, which is a modular server-side software package that enables wireless operators to deliver content to mobile phone users. Users of this are able to configure mobile phones to work with corporate email systems.

Mobile device management is a key component to driving widespread mobile IT deployments, said Dave Rothschild, HP VP at the Handheld Business Unit, Personal Systems Group. With the acquisition of Bitfone, HP adds mobile device management to a comprehensive management suite that already includes servers, desktops, and notebooks.

Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed, although the transaction is expected to be completed by February. Following completion, Bitfone will be integrated into the Handheld Business Unit of HP’s Personal Systems Group.

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