Zebra Seeks Growth with Xplore Acquisition and New Health Care Partner Specialization

Zebra Technologies completes its first acquisition since buying Motorola Solutions in 2014 and rolls out a new health care partner program.

Jeffrey Schwartz

August 30, 2018

4 Min Read
Doctor with Smartphone

Zebra Technologies is extending its push into the era of digitization and automation with its acquisition of Xplore Technologies and the rollout of a new partner program for solution providers and ISVs specializing in health-care providers.

The purchase of Xplore for $90 million, announced last month and completed last week, is Zebra’s first acquisition in four years since it absorbed the Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business for $3.45 billion, which included the former Symbol Technologies.

Xplore’s line of ruggedized Android and Windows tablets, 2-in-1 tablet PCs and industrial grade laptops rounds out Zebra’s portfolio of industrial computing and communications systems at the upper end of the market, said Bill Cate, Zebra’s VP of global channel strategy, programs and operations.

While Zebra has its ET 50 tablet family, Cate said that covers the lower end of the ruggedized tablet space.

“Their product line goes all the way up into the ultra-rugged space, which was a gap for us,” he said. “The channel has been telling us for a while that they’ve really wanted us to beef this up. Based on the briefings that I have done with the partners, there are really excited about it.”


Bill Cate

Bill Cate

Cate said the two companies have a high level of partner overlap and his group is now determining how to integrate Xplore’s channel program with Zebra’s Partner Connect.

“We will have to do some rationalization to bring the two together and do it in a way where we don’t lose any of the positive parts of their program,” he said.

For instance, Xplore last year updated its channel program and offers a volume incentive rebate program that goes deeper than what Zebra offers for its tablets, Cate acknowledged.

“We’ll probably try to maintain that, so we don’t take anything away,” he said.

Angela Kauffman, manager of product marketing and partnerships at Voalte, a Sarasota, Florida, supplier of handheld communications and computing devices and solutions provided to hospitals and health-care providers, said the addition of Xplore has little impact on her company’s business. That’s because its systems primarily are designed for public safety, construction, manufacturing, utilities and transportation.

“It doesn’t quite affect us, but we are excited to hear that Zebra is out in the market, shopping and growing; it’s a good indicator when your partner is growing and doing as well as they are within their markets, said Kauffman, whose company became a Motorola Solutions partner in 2013, before Zebra acquired it. “With that [Motorola] acquisition and transition, we got fully immersed [in] the partner program through [Zebra’s] Partner Connect,” Kauffman said.


Angela Kauffman

Angela Kauffman

Voalte, which offers Zebra’s MC40, and more recently its newer TC51 mobile computers and integrates them with electronical medical record (EMR), workflow and alerting systems, is now part of the newly launched Zebra Qualified Healthcare Specialization Program.

“I am excited to see Zebra’s dedication in our industry and [am] hoping to see their products transition to be truly dedicated for healthcare and to have an impact,” Kauffman said.

Zebra already has begun to offer versions of its hardware with special hardware that can withstand the strong chemicals used on everything to protect against infection. “They have done that already and they are going to build towards it for future products as well,” she said.

Cate said the goal of the program to have more focused engagements taking into account the software expertise of the likes of Cerner, Epic and McKesson to partners that are health care group purchasing organization (GPO) provider specialists such as CDW’s health care group, systems integrators with health-care specialization and ISVs.

In addition to providing dedicated health care sales experts to work with these partners, Cate said Zebra is looking to add partners.

“There [are] a number of health care ISVs and providers out there that we’d like to attract into this program,” Cate said. The program will cover Zebra’s various mobile computers, barcode scanners, printers, patient wristbands and barcode label supplies.

Zebra is incorporating it into Partner Connect, where members of the program will have access to channel sales, marketing and technical support with health-care industry expertise. The program will also include specific and various incentives, according to the company. Zebra is offering the program to health care technology providers in North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea and Southeast Asia. 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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