Smartphones

Android to catch BlackBerry in the enterprise? It's not a sure thing

A new analyst report suggests that Android will catch BlackBerry in enterprise smartphone sales by 2016. Here's why it may be wrong.

A new report from research firm Ovum suggests that over the next five years Android will pull even with BlackBerry in terms of smartphone sales to the enterprise -- in other words, the devices that businesses purchase in order to hand out to employees and run off of the corporate telecom account.

Our colleagues at Silicon.com have a summary of the Ovum report:

"Google's mobile OS will account for 26 per cent of corporate smartphone shipments in 2016, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 per cent. While BlackBerry will remain the dominant smartphone player among business users over the next five years - thanks to strong device management and security capabilities making it 'a favourite with IT departments' - it will only retain this lead by a whisker-thin margin, according to research by Ovum - accounting for 27 per cent of the market in 2016. Enterprise shipments of BlackBerrys will grow at a CAGR of just 5.3 per cent between 2011 and 2016, the analyst forecasts - rising from 10.9 million at the end of this year to 14.8 million in 2016. Ovum predicts 4.7 million Android devices will ship to enterprise users by the end of this year, and up to 14.2 million in five years' time... Ovum predicts iPhone shipments to business users will reach 9.3 million in 2016, accounting for 17.8 per cent of the market and growing at a CAGR of 11.2 per cent. The analyst forecasts 4.9 million iPhones will ship to business users at the end of this year - slightly more than Android devices."

Image credit: Sync-Blog.com

Sanity check

Before I mention the reasons why I'm skeptical about this prediction, let's talk about why Android devices are going to be attractive to enterprise buyers. It really boils down to just one thing: cost. Enterprises tend to get BlackBerries for next-to-nothing from the telecom carriers because they don't buy the latest models. They buy the ones that are a generation behind and have been discounted. In the Android ecosystem, there are plenty of low-cost models that carriers will probably offer for free to enterprises that purchase and activate a whole fleet of them. With Android, enterprises can also migrate off of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) on the backend, and save a big chunk of money. Only companies with highly-sensitive data will need BES. Others are looking to drop it as quickly as they can in order to cut costs, especially in light of the recent BES outages.

However, Android in the enterprise is not a slam dunk, for a couple reasons. First, fewer and fewer companies are buying phones for their employees. Instead, they're allowing to people to connect their own smartphones to the company network to access corporate data. In many cases, they're using solutions like Good Technology to enable secure "bring your own device" (BYOD) scenarios. Throughout 2011 Good has consistently said that more people are activating iOS devices and Android devices in the companies that use its solution. Speaking of iPhone, most of the CIOs and IT leaders we've been talking to during 2011 say that they worry about Android security issues more than iOS security issues, and that's one of the biggest obstacles to great Android adoption. Another factor that will matter to the enterprise is the recent report that Android hardware fails more than iPhone and BlackBerry.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

16 comments
ddelapaz1
ddelapaz1

With about 200 mobile phone now syncing to our exchange server and a move from Blackberry to IOS and Android, I gladly shut down one more server I dont have to maintain. I'm with Jason and the rest of you.

adornoe
adornoe

likely to something different from what you're switching to now. The point is that, neither Jason nor anyone else, can predict where the market will be in another five years, and thus, you can't honestly be with Jason on predictions which are made about a very volatile market such as smartphones.

BRomeroT
BRomeroT like.author.displayName 1 Like

If some can reeplace Black Berry fot Business is Windows Phone for its capability to use Active Directory, Exchange and Office Integration in same phone; just do a test with Office 365 or SkyDrive or Sharepoint and Windows Phone. Integration to bussiness that's the deal :)

Gromanon
Gromanon

If there is a single company that can be named for extensive experience in enterprise market, that would be Microsoft. Their older Windows Mobile software was perfect for enterprise and they know it, of course they had to do lots of work from ground up with their new Windows Phone and it still needs a bit of catching up to do. But in general its very solid platform for business, even more so than Android. And looking at fast phase of its development I am sure that all the gaps between Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.5 will be closed very quickly, more than likely with the release of their next big update Apollo or whatever it will be called.

femif
femif

According to Ardornoe's statement up here,. I completely disagree with the author about BB taking the pace while androids lags behinds in the next 5 years, Android came out not long ago and is taking the global market by storm, with 80% supports basically from Tablets, and 20% from mobile phones. over 80% of the tablets in the market right now are operating with Google Android OS. What claims do you have when itsclear and obvious taking a look at some of SAMSUNG Smart phones with Android OS. Imagine a global market where we have over 10 Standard brands producing tablets and Smart Phones with android as OS, comparing with just Rim's Blackberry with its own OS, I suggests that the author goes to review his statement and accept that fact that in less than the next 2 years, Android is completely dominating the MID market. with its OS presence not limited to mobile devices and Tablets alone, but in Home PC and Laptops.

adornoe
adornoe

what they will be in 5 years. The smartphone and tablet markets are too volatile, and predictions will last up till the introduction of the "next big thing" that comes along, and that happens quite too often in technology. Besides, brand loyalty is something that will forever be lacking in the technology sector, unless, of course, we're talking about Apple fanaticism.

benardquek
benardquek

Come on, Windows also had more failings than OSX but Windows is Enterprise worthy too. What makes you think that Android isn't in the same sense.

webdev511
webdev511 like.author.displayName 1 Like

as such it won't see the enterprise until it grows up. Once it can pass a PCI security audit, we can talk, but until that time it's just as enterprise ready as iPhone, which Apple has stated is never likely to be PCI ready.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

This is probably the most accurate statement you've ever made.

adornoe
adornoe

of my words. ;) But, thanks for the complement anyway.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... something you may yet learn. My appreciation of things Apple is due to experience, not hearsay and hype. Can you dare to say the same?

adornoe
adornoe

and no matter how beautiful and/or smart and/or useful and/or better anything else is, your love is just too deep. I can understand love, but don't give me that BS about Apple just being better. If you do the majority of your "work" on Apple products, then you must not be doing any real work on them. I'll bet you have a very hard time 'typing' "anthropomorphizes" on your iPad, if that's what you used.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

However, that is not why I use Apple's products. I use Apple's products because, over more than 30 years, they have been the most reliable machines and the easiest to use compared to all other machines and OSes available. I was teaching people how to use color in DOS, while using an Apple II myself. I was teaching people how to use Windows 95 when it came out--because I'd been using MacOS for years already. Even today I still teach people how to use Win7 while personally using OS X 'Lion'. Simply put: For me, Apple's products are simply better products. When I find another brand that gives me superior usability, then I will replace my Apples. Until then, I will use them side-by-side and do the majority of my work on the Apple product.

adornoe
adornoe

than appreciation for really useful things. True wisdom removes emotional attraction towards inanimate objects, especially where it's regarding a company or a product.

adornoe
adornoe like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

in a very volatile, fast changing market, where whoever is on top today, could be at the bottom next year. Might as well be an economist making predictions in today's economy. Very likely to be wrong in a matter of weeks, much less in a few years.