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Ericsson’s emerging focus: helping build cloud services


Ericsson, which you probably think of first as a mobile network equipment company, is buying a majority stake in cloud computing startup Apcera.

The disclosure Monday morning came days after it announced plans to shut down its wireless modem business (a move that will cost 1,000 of its 110,000-person workforce their jobs and transfer some others to radio network development).

This is Ericsson’s fourth move in the past two months focused on helping network operators build and secure cloud services. About two weeks ago, it paid $95 million for Fabrix Systems, which develops technology for streaming video. In July, it acquired MetraTech to manage billing; and in early September, it announced a pact with Guardtime to address security concerns.

Terms of the Apcera deal announced this morning weren’t revealed, but the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. According to Crunchbase, the two-year-old company Apcera has raised about $7.2 million in venture capital from True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Rakuten, Andreessen Horowitz, and Data Collective. Ericsson is also committing to future development support.

Apcera’s technology, called Continuum, helps companies apply management policies to software applications running on cloud services (such as when to let someone log into the systems). It’s about control: allowing a company to apply the same discipline it would if the software was loaded on in-house servers, Apcera founder and CEO Derek Collison told Data Sheet. Plus it helps businesses connect applications that are spread across cloud services and legacy data centers. The technology is meant to appease security, governance and compliance concerns. “If you cannot trust the system beneath an application, the ability to drive value for the business is limited,” Collison says.

Notes True Ventures partner Puneet Agarwal: “Developers want to move with lightning speed, but their progress often comes to a screeching halt once the app reaches the operations team, which needs to ensure that the new app works properly and adheres to policy within the current IT environment.”

Collison previously held executive posts at TIBCO Software, Google, and VMware, where he was responsible for creating Cloud Foundry, a platform for speeding development and deployment of applications. The company’s head of sales, Mark Coffman, used to lead strategic accounts at Apptio, another developer focused on technology management solutions.

This item first appeared in the Sept. 22 edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology. Sign up here.