WatchDox just announced that they're buying InstallFree. This is awesome.
WatchDox is a well-funded software company with a solution that's kind of like a corporate Dropbox or Box with one major difference—WatchDox lets companies control and audit individual documents after they reach an endpoint.
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There are a bunch of different ways this works, but one of the keys is their platform emulates an Office Rights Management Server, so users can work with files and documents in native local applications while the company is still able to maintain control, report on who did what with which files, approve or deny specific devices, expire specific content, etc.
We haven't written about WatchDox before, but they're a favorite company of mine that I often mention when I talk about Mobile Information Management. If you've never heard of them, they were at BriForum Chicago this year and you can get an overview this short (less than 2 minutes) video. (Or watch the video of their hour-long sponsored breakout session.)
So why did WatchDox buy InstallFree? You may remember this past April I wrote about InstallFree Nexus, a product that lets you use real Windows apps to open Dropbox (or Box, SkyDrive, etc.) files in a browser via standard HTML—no VDI or TS required. Think of it like Office365-meets-Dropbox but it works for all apps instead of just Office apps.
With App-V and ThinApp taking the lion's share of the app virtualization market, I wondered what would happen to second-tier players like InstallFree. As I wrote last April, I had pretty much written them off until I saw Nexus which I just absolutely loved.
Before InstallFree, the WatchDox app (for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or web) displayed a document based on a view that was rendered on a WatchDox server. By adding InstallFree Nexus, WatchDox can add the capability to edit and interact with those documents and files without having build the support for every document type into the client viewer.
This is better than many of the "dual persona MAM" solutions because this can work with any Windows application and file type. (It puts them on par with Citrix MDX/HDX or possibly VMware if they ever release AppBlast.)
But WatchDox is my favorite MIM vendor since they do everything that normal file syncing does while adding document-level controls once the documents and files got onto endpoints, even unmanaged ones, so adding Nexus is a great win for them. And it's great to see InstallFree end up somewhere, because Nexus is awesome but I couldn't see too many people using it on its own.