Motorola Buys AirDefense

By Judy Mottl

July 29, 2008

Acquisition puts it on better footing against Cisco, Aruba Network offerings.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) announced today is it acquiring wireless LAN security vendor AirDefense for an undisclosed amount. The company said the addition of AirDefense would help it create a common platform offering enhanced internal and external network protection.

AirDefense, a seven-year-old wireless intrusion prevention tool provider, has been partnering with Motorola's Symbol WLAN division for three years and has 800 customers mostly within the government and defense sectors. Experts call the purchase a strategic decision that will shore up each vendor's market expansion plans.

"We'll be offering a much more compelling product set with this combination," Mike Potts, AirDefense CEO, told InternetNews.com. "This will provide customers with a cohesive interoperable solution not only on the security front, but within the radio frequency technology areas for Motorola," Potts added.

The acquisition gives Motorola better footing in a competitive industry that includes Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Aruba Networks, both of which have integrated security technology in wireless WLAN product lines. And it comes at a time when wireless security is a growing concern as more data is being shared outside of network walls and on mobile devices connected to internal networks.

The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium reported in its latest global information workforce survey that wireless security solutions are the leading security technology planned by tech staffs. Fifteen percent of those polled said they are looking to implement the technology.

"This is a very good fit for Motorola and AirDefense as they've had a good relationship. It also provides both customer bases with a greater degree of integration," Craig Mathias, analyst at Farpoint Group, told InternetNews.com. "Customers are looking for more features and a lot more adjunct functionality and the more they get from a single vendor the better it is for them," Mathias said. AirDefense launched its first monitoring and IDS system in 2001 and was the first to use access points as sensors. It works within heterogeneous wireless WLAN environments.

Motorola is currently the second top wireless WLAN provider behind market leader Cisco.

Once the acquisition is complete following regulatory review, AirDefense will be a subsidiary of Motorola with Potts remaining as leader for an undetermined timeframe. According to Gartner research the vendor had revenues of $120 million in 2007 and is projected to hit $170 million this year.

"Motorola is aiming to keep competitive and this not only provides the security technology they needed but provides them more control over it," John Pescatore, Gartner analyst, told InternetNews.com.

"Wireless WLANs are all the same but if you have that good security piece it can be a differentiator in the market place. It's [this acquisition] a way to drive business and have the security technology better aligned with Motorola's products," said Pescatore.

Motorola, which did not return calls by press time, stated in a release that the "combination of Motorola’s WLAN infrastructure and AirDefense’s best-of-breed features will further enhance network security offerings and better secure our customers’ networks."

Originally published on .

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