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Google Buys an Enterprise Android Company, Divide (Formerly Known as Enterproid)

Android has trailed Apple when it comes to getting accepted in the workplace.

Google is buying a startup that focuses on Android in the enterprise and was backed by its Google Ventures investing group.

Needless to say, it’s an alignment of interests.

The company is Divide, formerly known as Enterproid. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Divide team will join the Android team.

As Ina Fried wrote last year, Divide uses “what’s known as a container approach, in which corporate information is separated from personal information on a device. That allows businesses to manage their data even on devices they don’t own, and gives individuals freedom to still use their phone to run the kinds of apps they want to.”

Divide had raised some $25 million from investors including Google Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners and Harmony Partners.

The context for this is, for all its progress in the global smartphone arena, Android has trailed Apple when it comes to getting accepted in the workplace.

In part, Apple’s button-down approach has limited the amount of malware on the operating system, making it more attractive to security-conscious business.

On Android, by contrast, much of the enterprise focus has been around sectioning off the work and personal parts of the phone — the container approach used by Divide and other companies.

Divide had an early deal with AT&T to power that carrier’s approach, but AT&T went with a rival for an updated version of the service.

The team that started Divide, including co-founder Alexander Trewby, have their background in the especially security-conscious financial services sector, having worked in the IT department of Morgan Stanley.

Google isn’t talking future product plans but the companies say, “for existing customers, Divide will continue to work as it always has.”

Given Google would like to see Android as a whole take off, it’s reasonable to think the Divide team’s future efforts might focus on making the operating system more enterprise-friendly from the get-go, rather than operating a small service adding on enterprise features after the fact.

Motorola had bought a similar company, 3LM, but it’s not yet clear if that will stay or go with the larger team moving to Lenovo.

To get a better sense on Divide and their strategy, here is an interview Ina Fried did with Trewby and a panel of mobile enterprise companies at Mobile World Congress.

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