Cloud and virtualization company VMware announced Wednesday it will acquire Atlanta-based AirWatch in a $1.17 billion cash deal, which will also pay out an extra $365 million in installment payments and unvested stock options.

AirWatch specializes in mobile device management (MDM) software, which allows companies to configure, manage and monitor settings and apps across mobile devices for the sake of better controlling and protecting their data. But while MDM is becoming increasingly important, the market is currently flooded with more than 100 different vendors. That is changing, however, as larger enterprises are beginning to understand the value of MDM; IBM recently completed its acquisition of FiberLink in December, and Citrix closed its purchase of Zenprise last January. Now it’s VMWare’s turn.

VMWare is currently limited to desktop software that runs on Windows, Linux and OS X, but with AirWatch, the company will finally have footholds in both mobile and desktop ecosystems. VMWare will be able to achieve cloud delivery of applications and virtualization services across all platforms, and AirWatch will gain from a greater distribution of its tools.

“AirWatch provides best-in-class, secure, enterprise-mobile management to thousands of businesses around the world,” Pat Gelsinger, VMWare’s CEO, said in a press release. “With this acquisition VMware will add a foundational element to our end-user computing portfolio that will enable our customers to turbo-charge their mobile workforce without compromising security.”

VMWare says Airwatch will still be led by its current CEO John Marshall, but the 1,600-person company will be folded into VMWare’s end-user computing group led by general manager Sanjay Poonen. AirWatch boasts more than 10,000 global customers.

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