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Google to Buy Divide, Adding Mobile-Management Services

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May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. is acquiring mobile-device software startup Divide, adding services to help corporations manage employees’ use of smartphones and tablets.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Divide will become part of Google’s Android team, Mountain View, California-based Google said in an e-mailed statement today. Android is the most popular smartphone operating system.

As more corporate computing is done on the road, Google is looking for ways to broaden the appeal of its software to the business market, where it competes with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and BlackBerry Ltd. Divide, whose mobile applications are available for Apple’s iPhone as well as Android devices, has landed clients in industries such as health care and finance.

“Divide was founded with a simple mission: Give people the best mobile experience at work,” the startup said on its blog today. “For existing customers, Divide will work as it always has.”

New York-based Divide, whose corporate name is Enterproid Inc., is among a slew of startups catering to the growing trend known as bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, where companies let employees use their own mobile gadgets while using third-party software to ensure security and to separate business and personal functions. Other entrants include Good Technology Inc. and larger companies like VMware Inc.

Divide signed a product-integration partnership last year with Mobile Iron Inc., another mobile-device management company. Mobile Iron earlier this month delayed plans for an initial public offering to wait for better market conditions, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Google’s Android held 78 percent of the global smartphone operating system market in 2013, according to Gartner Inc. Apple’s iOS software was No. 2, with 16 percent.

Divide’s backers include Google Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures. The company has raised more than $20 million since 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Jillian Ward, Reed Stevenson

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