Google is stealing mobile worker turf from Apple, Microsoft and RIM

28 May 2012

Google’s Android operating system is beginning to make headway in the mobile worker space and steal marketshare from Apple, Microsoft and RIM, as workers seek mobile solutions that improve productivity and work-life balance.

New research from Strategy Analytics points out that globally nearly all smartphones and tablets are corporate-liable devices, including most BYOD smartphones.

Their purchase price or monthly voice/data services fees of US$42 per user on average are paid for, in part or in full, by employers.

Organisations report plans to buy more Android than iOS corporate tablets in the next 12 months, a warning shot over the bow of iPad current business tablet dominance.

Microsoft Windows mobile devices barely show on the radar for corporate support and purchase plans. Microsoft and its partners must start addressing businesses and mobile worker needs.

The average replacement cycle for business smartphones has shortened considerably to 1.1 years. RIM, whose smartphones still enjoy solid corporate support, must battle to retain customers who revisit smartphone decisions every year.

“This Strategy Analytics enterprise survey shows that businesses are starting to make enterprise mobility decisions that reflect a more sustainable and responsible approach, and better balances BYOD with corporate security and management requirements,” commented Andrew Brown, director, Enterprise Research.

“A snapshot of the winning and losing players in the enterprise mobility market today will likely look very different a year or two from now, as organisations adjust mobility plans based on the evolving needs of increasingly mobile businesses and workforces,” added Mark Levitt, director, Enterprise Software and Communications research at Strategy Analytics.

Android gaining upper hand in smartphone space

The research comes less than a week after research from IDC which claimed some 152.3m smartphones were shipped during the first quarter. It said both Android and iOS have successfully distanced themselves from previous market leaders Symbian and BlackBerry, as well as Linux and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile.

Android finished the quarter as the overall leader among the mobile operating systems, accounting for more than half of all smartphone shipments. In addition, Android boasted the longest list of smartphone vendor partners. Samsung was the largest contributor to Android’s success, accounting for 45.4pc of all Android-based smartphone shipments. But beyond Samsung was a mix of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

iOS recorded strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S following the holiday quarter and the addition of numerous mobile operators offering the iPhone for the first time. Although end-user demand remains high, the iPhone’s popularity brings additional operational pressures for mobile operators through subsidy and data revenue sharing policies.

Image of mobile worker via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years