Enterprises buying iPhones "in droves": Here's the tipping point

Enterprises buying iPhones "in droves": Here's the tipping point

Summary: iPhones will become a powerhouse for the enterprise in the coming years, leaving Android and BlackBerry out to pasture. Here's the smartphone struggle tipping point, and why.


BlackBerrys are on their way out, and iPhones are ready to take their place in the enterprise space, according to the latest forecast report from research firm IDC.

Enterprises and large businesses are buying the petite Apple-branded shiny rectangles "in droves," the report said, and in the coming years will likely outshine its more popular rivals in the business smartphone space. 

Android vs. iPhone in the enterprise space

The research firm differentiates between business-bought devices, so-called "corporate liable" -- from employee-bought devices, dubbed "employee liable" smartphones (think the ongoing bring-your-own-device, or "BYOD" trend).

Image credit: CNET

IDC projects that by year-end 2012, consumer Android smartphone shipments will reach 351.8 million, with 87.7 million corporate liable devices and 15.1 million employee liable devices shipped. One-quarter of the devices are being snapped up by enterprises directly, with a separate 4.3 percent falling directly in the hands of BYOD business users. 

But it's the iPhone that businesses want to look out for.

Looking ahead to 2016, the iPhone will reign over the business space with around 68.9 million shipments, while Android will dwindle due to its fragmented ecosystem, leaving "more gaps in security than many organizations are comfortable with," the report notes. 

By contrast, Apple is forecast to ship 78.6 million iPhones to end consumers, with 37.1 million shipping to business workers and 31.1 million directly to companies. 

Between Android and iPhones, the old favorite BlackBerry smartphone will be left out to pasture, despite topping the corporate liable smartphone shipments in 2011 with 22.4 million devices to companies.

While "BlackBerry continues to be the gold standard for security," said the report, its lack of appeal progress in the consumer and developer market "hinders its viability going forward." 

When did the iPhone become so high and mighty?

This is the tipping point. BlackBerry is on its way out as the business and enterprise gold standard in security and functionality, and the iPhone is heading in. 

At what point did the iPhone, in spite of its shiny consumer appeal, become a business-friendly and enterprise-ready device?

It probably was all along -- I personally failed to see it -- but the U.K. government is calling it out as the next-best thing since the sliced BlackBerry bread, by certifying it for government use. It's only a matter of time before other governments adopt the Apple smartphone as the 'government standard' device for low-level secrets.

In spite of BlackBerry's back-end infrastructure -- which is the reason behind the U.K. government's decision to classify as good-enough for low-level national security documents (the same level as the BlackBerry, funny how that happened), among others -- the iPhone's back-end policy management is what keeps it ticking over in the hearts and minds of IT support folk. It's highly adaptable to mobile device management (MDM) services and set IT policies, thanks to its tightly controlled in-built security features. 

Following the U.K. government's move, a step up in size, Barclays picked out the iPad as the most suitable device for its 8,500 tablet rollout. In doing so, it sent a giant 'Bat-Signal' to the rest of the banking industry -- one famed for its secrecy and data protection rules -- to say, "hey, Apple's open for business -- literally." 

In spite of its closed platform (which adds even more weight to the security argument), the iPhone solution is as good as good as the old BlackBerry platform, along with a range of other features that makes the iPhone attractive, such as better app delivery application.

If it's good enough for government, it's good enough for the wider world. 

Topics: iPhone, Android, Apple, Google, Government, Government UK, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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  • Nobody cares about forecast

    Most forcasts are rubbish, and the new blackberry platform will help blackberry to survive in the enterprise ...Its apple and android being driven out of enterprise... and WP8 and blackberry will be in again.
    • Bye, bye BlackBerry

      Stick a fork in Research in Slo-Motion. It's done. Apple should just buy the dying company for BIS patents and put the rest of it out of misery. No one is actually crying for BB10. RIM was picked by Wall Street in 2008/2009 to rule the smartphone industry for about ten years. Now they can't even give their crappy smartphones away except to third-world countries who are glad to get anything for next to nothing. Even outdated hardware.
      Steffen Jobbs
    • Wphone/Blackberry

      Totally agree with you owlllnet. I think Windows phone and Blackberry will gain their ground again on the enterprise.
    • While I agree that WP8 has a strong potential to rise,

      Blackberry has become, at best, a niche player. Blackberry's one weak point has been its usability--the difficult and frequently convoluted methods required sometimes even to simply answer the phone. When it was the only game in town--or at worst competing with Windows Mobile--the security of Blackberry smartphones was its main selling point as evidenced by President Barak Obama himself fighting to keep his Blackberry when he was elected in '08. But the Blackberry was never easy to use and when the iPhone really started moving the smartphone market exploded, leaving RIM in the dust despite increasing sales as the iPhone and later Android sold far more units to far more people than RIM ever dreamed possible. Of course, WinMob killed itself due to its poor reliability as an OS--even with reasonably well-built handsets.

      The thing is, Android's notoriously weak security is what's killing it for corporate and governmental markets while the Windows OS already has a strong infrastructure in place in consumer, corporate and even governmental hands. WP8 will have a slow start in the same way Android had a slow start, but if Microsoft sticks with the product rather than abandoning it the way they did the Zune then WP8 and later will eat away at Android's market while already having a foot in the door to the corporate one.
    • the problem is...

      That trends only last for a little while until people wisen up and realize that other things are a lot better. remember that not everyone knows that android is better yet, and they just need a bit of re-education is all. It's not their fault, but as business people, it's more expected that they should know better by now, but they don't, and they just buy what the Apple hype says to buy, without regards to the real business models out there. But as I said, it's just a trend and it should be gone by February.
      • ROTFLMAO!!!! That was a good one...

        Roidville sucks the big one... Massive fragmentation and then there is that massive cesspool of malware known as the Roid App Store. Not to mention that the only thing Roids have ever been is wannabe iPhones. iPhone has been enterprise ready since Gen 1. Apple released free enterprise apps for the first iPhone and they were very good. They also took the extra steps of getting government certified. Currently the Government is dumping BB and going all iPhone as well.... So both Enterprise and the Government have recognized that the iPhone is the winning horse and Roid is just what the name implies. A great big pain in the arse.

        As for the Windows Teletubby phone... Well that is just a baby in the market and has a long, long, long way to go before it reaches any sort of maturity. I suspect that if Microsoft hangs in there long enough, that they will overtake Roid (being that Roid is also shooting themselves in the foot left and right).

        But don't let yer panties get all waded in yer crack fan boi... I suspect iPhone will only reign supreme for 5 to 10 more years before something new comes along (considering the US government and enterprise have adopted iPhone as the current standard).

        But in all honestly, whatever replaces iPhone will probably be something you have just as much irrational fear and hate for... So it will be just like the iPhone all over again... LOL!!!
        • since we're making stuff up...

          The tooth fairy was kidnapped by evil santa and that's how the easter bunny was born.

          i8thecat4 - rage much?

          The fact is the government doesn't use iphone, they use android, along with its great military. Russia uses android, china uses android. Just so you know, cereal boxes do not count as a source for news. Iphone was made for the common user, who are becoming less and less common these days. Drop the iphone so you can learn something new and catch up with the rest of the world. Or..not.
          • Either you're sadly misinformed or you're not all there

            The US military does indeed use iPhones (as a projectile I'd hope, but probably for something they think is useful), and I think even Her Majesty's armed forces have dabbled with them too.
          • only in the USA

            yeh, because the US military uses iphone means it top notch security right?
            is this the same organisation that gets their secrets published by wikileaks?
            the highest level of US government has access to Apple servers which is why no enemy of the state would even consider an iphone as a security device since Apple has built geofencing abilities into iOS as well as the ultimate spyware in Siri.
            If you actually have any clue about computer security, you would not be recommending an iOS device for high security applications.
            Customised linux has the best potential for security and customised Android allows that level of security to be achieved.
            iphone is decent level security made for your average noob, but don't make it out to be top notch.
        • Rave on

          Rave on silly fanboy. iPhone has been playing catch-up for at least five years and is a poor imitation of Android now. Anyone who wants to "borrow" a phone from Apple is welcome to it.
      • Is your bias a trend?

        Android is not overall a better OS. It is better for some users while iOS or Win Phone are better for others.
    • Very funny

      You first say: "Most forcasts are rubbish" then proceed to prognosticate. Thanks for the laugh!
  • we're all android

    Only one or two iphones we switched everyone from blackberry to android. That said once WP8 becomes established we will probably switch everyone to that because we use Office 365 and the integration will be very nice.
    But your report doesn't really account for that type of thinking.
    • Backward based numbers

      in the term of going by what was happening prior to the release of a new product.

      Granted that's all they have to work with when they put their list together, but I can imagine that a few years ago, before the iPhone, that many an analyste predicted that RIM would continue to be the enterprise tool of choice over WP6 and Palm
      William Farrel
    • "will be"

      So, you don't know yet whether Office 365 will work well with WP8?
      But you hope so.

      • lol wow

        danbi you're about aerodynamic as a bowling ball. Too dull to see beyond anyone's point are you?
        • What was the point?

          Does baseless prediction qualify as a point?
        • Ever heard of a cannon ball kikax?

          Do you realize that a bowling ball is actually very aerodynamic??? Ball berrings are made by dropping liquid metal from a height into a cooling liquid. When the liquid metal falls, it forms a sphere (the most aerodynamic shape possible) and then becomes solid before plunging into a cooling liquid.

          The phrase/saying/cliche you were looking for is saying that someone is as sharp as a bowling ball.

          Now that you know how much of a failure you are kikax, why dont you make like a tree and get outa here. (BTTF Quote... couldn't resist)
          • lol

            i8thecat4 - what's the point? Everything you say is made up on the spot, it sounds clever but it's childish logic.
          • making stuff up

            When you drop liquid it generally forms a tear-drop shape, not a sphere. And a ball bearing is not made by dropping molten metal from a height. What you are probably thinking of is a process used for making lead shot but the lead balls are small enough that surface tension forms them into a sphere before aerodynamics can reshape them. Some NASA details on aerodynamics for the curious:

            Once you've worked through all this enough time should have passed to see if the predictions in the article are correct.