A California technology company has agreed to buy AirWatch, a Sandy Springs-based provider of security and management for mobile devices, in a deal valued at more than $1.5 billion, the two companies announced on their webpages Jan. 22.

VMware Inc., which calls itself the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrasture, will buy AirWatch for about $1.175 billion in cash and about $365 million in installment payments and assumed unvested equity, the companies said.

“When we started AirWatch, we set out to help businesses succeed in the mobile explosion that was set to come. Now there are more than 2 billion smart phones and tablets in the world and more than half of those devices touch an enterprise,” Alan Dabbiere, co-founder and chairman of AirWatch, said in a press release. “By joining a proven innovator like VMware, we now have an opportunity to bring our leading-edge solutions to an even broader set of customers and partners to help them optimize for the mobile-cloud world.”

In its press release, VMware said AirWatch’s Atlanta site is expected to expand and be the center of VMware’s mobile operations.

“Our vision is to provide a secure virtual workspace that allows end users to work at the speed of life,” said Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM of VMware’s End-User Computing group. “The combination of AirWatch and VMware will enable us to deliver unprecedented value to our customers and partners across their desktop and mobile environments.”

– See more at: www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed/VMware-to-Acquire-AirWatch/1801180#sthash.VMmaEdcv.dpuf

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.