In IBM and Apple's wake, what will team Android do?

In IBM and Apple's wake, what will team Android do?

Summary: The biggest challenge for team Android is that Google and Samsung, two partners with enterprise ambitions, will have to herd cats to reach corporations to counter Apple and IBM.


Google, Samsung and team Android may have to form the equivalent of the enterprise Justice League to counter the Apple-IBM alliance as well as Microsoft's foothold in corporations.

The biggest challenge for team Android is that Google and Samsung, two partners with enterprise ambitions, will have to herd cats to reach corporations. Android will need channel, integration and services support and there are few players that can match IBM's reach.

ginni and tim
Ginny Rometti and Tim Cook: Have they cornered Android in the enterprise?

To recap: IBM and Apple forged an alliance that revolves where Big Blue will create exclusive industry applications for iOS and use its services army to sprinkle iPads and iPhones in corporations. Apple wants more enterprise sales and IBM wants a mobile partner so it can layer in its cloud services. In the end, companies are going mobile first with cloud services on the backend.

In addition, Android's enterprise market share is the inverse in the enterprise when compared to Apple's iOS. Android dominates in the consumer world, but the enterprise is all about iOS. SAP, Oracle and Salesforce are mostly focused on iOS first with Android a close second. Most enterprise apps from the likes of Workday and other key players tend to favor iOS. In many ways, IBM just added to the pile-on.

IBM and Apple affect Microsoft somewhat, but if you buy into Satya Nadella's platform and productivity strategy the software giant may be a bit insulated. After all, Microsoft dominates in the enterprise, will make some serious mobile device management headway and has Office running better on iOS than its own Windows.

It's unclear how team Android will respond, but as Forrester analyst Frank Gillett noted, Google and leading enterprise suppliers will have to "seek partnerships that offer a credible alternative."


Let's think through how this Android Justice League could provide an iOS counterweight.

The Players

  • Samsung. Samsung has gone big in the B2B space, innovated on Android security with Knox and has some channel presence to be a larger player in the enterprise. IBM's consultants pushing iOS and industry specific apps will dent Samsung's ambitions. Samsung has avenues into select verticals, but nothing like IBM has. Android goes as Samsung goes so whatever team is formed, the Korean consumer electronics company will have to be a lead player.

  • Google. Google has an enterprise footprint and cloud services, but would really need to partner to get industry-specific coverage for Android. Look for Google to pair up more closely with integrators that compete with IBM. Think Accenture. Google could also partner with a company like Oracle, but I suspect the negotiations wouldn't go well given that pesky Android lawsuit between the two companies.

  • Lenovo. Lenovo, a key IBM partner, can't be too pleased with Big Blue pushing iOS so hard. Lenovo will be a big Android player and has the enterprise clout to make something happen. Lenovo's participation would be key to any Android enterprise countermeasure, but the company could just as easily get closer to Microsoft.

  • Hewlett-Packard. HP has a bet big on Android. HP also has the services arm to push Android in the enterprise. HP would also have to be a leading player.

  • SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft and other software players such as VMware. These enterprise software giants are likely to play Switzerland and stay out of any platform debates. SAP and Salesforce have partnered with Microsoft's Azure cloud offerings on the backend, but front-end development has revolved around iOS and Android. SAP and Salesforce may cozy up to Android if only to counter any industry specific tools made by IBM.

The likely team

Google and Samsung will likely be ringleaders and form some kind of alliance with Accenture. The problem is that it's unclear whether any enterprise vendor would want to create an exclusive Android deal given iOS and its standing in corporations.

Hewlett-Packard will also play along, but the integration and channel work will have to be a larger cast. Team Android will need Accenture and HP to push Android in the enterprise.

SAP, Salesforce and others will stay out of the fray. Oracle will hope Android loses enterprise standing — since the company believes Google's mobile platform is only a Java rip-off.

Lenovo is a total wild card and could aim to tighten relationships with both Microsoft and Google. After all, Lenovo is ultimately trying to upend Apple in emerging markets.

If these companies banded together in some sort of Android enterprise alliance, the combination could be formidable. The issue is that team Android can't put together a one-stop partnership the way Apple and IBM did. Few companies have been able to combine forces to woo the enterprise. Cisco and EMC with VMware and Intel have been able to combine forces so they resemble one enterprise unit with VCE, but does anyone really expect a bunch of Android players to coordinate that well?

Topics: Mobility, Android, Enterprise Software, iOS

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  • No great loss to Android

    They had no serious presence in the enterprise anyway.
    • Aint that the truth

      I think Larry needs to spend a few days in the business world. Its all Microsoft software and commodity hardware vendors like Dell and Lenovo. iOS and Android are toys in enterprise.
      Sean Foley
      • iOS is growing in enterprise

        Ummm have you spent any time in business? Most businesses I've encountered have at least some presence by iOS either via iPads or iPhones and it's only growing.
        • No kidding!

          Sean have you ever been to any government conferences? It's a sea of iPads. Oh wait, I just realized you might be trying to be funny. Sorry man.
        • A presence yes, but

          IBM has some impact and a presence.
          iOS has a very niche presence. It doesn't drive nor support the enterprise rather allows interaction with the enterprise, just like Android, just like RIM, and just like Windows phones and tablets (in a lesser sense).

          The biggest piece still missing and a death knell from a business scope; Apple is a silo'd supply chain. Until they get past this, significant presence in the enterprise is primarily a niche or BYOD stance.
          • Addendum

            There are some businesses that do use and rely on Apple products. These are a minority presence in the overall landscape.
          • You're Living in Your Tiny WORLD !

            You Seem to Be Desperate to DOWNPLAY Apple's Presence in Enterprises As is The Custom With i-NaySayers.

            But HOWEVER MUCH You Try to Refrain from The Reality and Deny It, Enormous Amount of Industries in REAL BUSINESS Are Adopting Apple's i-Devices ( Especially i-Phone & i-Pad ) As Input Devices. But NEVER Option for Android=Maldroid.
            It Goes Without Saying in Any Businesses " SECURITY " Should Come FIRST !!!!!!

            You Sound ReaLly SiLly to Regard Maldroid And i-OS in Same Manner in Business Arena.

            When You Say Apple's Presence is NONE in Enterprises, That's The Story of Server Side Business. That's WHY This Alliance Between Apple and IBM This Time is So Significant.

            Can You Get It, Retard ?
          • Chuckle

            Want some pasta with that whine?
            There is a significant difference between allow use of and use to drive the enterprise.
            They allow the use of iOS and Android but neither runs the business.
            That belongs to MS and Linux.
            Will a partnership with IBM change that? Not likely.
      • Android and iOS are toys. Period.

        The days when Android was an open OS for technical users are long gone.
        iOS and Android "smartphones" are both just entertainment consoles these days.
        The idea of a fully capable personal computer in your pocket was too threatening to feature monetization. The only true business-oriented designs were abandoned when masses of novice users started buying slates and complaining that advanced features are too complicated. Driving a car without knowing how to check the oil and tire pressure is unsafe an inadvisable, yet that's exactly how most people use their phones.
      • iOS is big

        I work for a trade association for execs in a pretty old fashioned blue collar industry and nearly everyone uses windows computers and iOS portable devices with a some blackberry holdouts and a handful of Android users.
  • What about BYOD?

    The vendors are one thing, but the sheer size of the android market,m and BYOD I expect will gain momentum over the next 12-18 months marginalising IBM to a minor market..
    • IBM no longer a player.

      I think Dell is the partner. They are huge in the enterprise and have all but abandoned their competition with Google and Samsung. As was said earlier most kids will be BYOD to their new jobs. This is a dream match that Apple and IBM cannot win. Add Dell and it becomes a no-lose. HP will never match up.
      • Wrong market

        This is not the BYOD market they are talking about. It's the Enterprise market. Those companies that do not allow BYOD and issue company owned devices to their employees. Dell lost out on this market for portable devices long long ago. They've yet to recover and probably won't. Plus Android is still far too much of a security risk for this market, and I don't see that changing either. Despite all the Google press releases lately on the subject.
  • There's no team Android.

    Just like there's no team Linux, there's no team Android. Samsung for instance is not sharing their Knox with Android as a whole, everyone is competing against each other. Which is why we see Apple continuing to do so well, and previously Blackberry. It's about providing a strong solution to enterprise, not a whole bunch of different mismatch.
    • Not entirely true

      The upcoming Android at Work is actually derived from Knox. However, it's true that there isn't a strictly cohesive front. Samsung is as much competing against HTC or LG as it is Apple.
    • "It's about providing a strong solution to enterprise"

      "It's about providing a strong solution to enterprise"

      and above all, data security.
  • This alliance will probably make both IBM and Apple some money

    but, IMO, it is being overplayed.

    The best strategy for IBM's enterprise competitors is to develop apps for both iOS and Android, and, possibly, for Windows Phone/RT and Blackberry 10 OS (which supports Android apps) if their customer base warrants it. This alliance does not prevent Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and others from submitting their own enterprise apps to the iPad and iPhone app stores. Nor does it prevent enterprises currently using the iPhone and iPad from continuing with Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and others in lieu of IBM.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • might move their stocks up for a few days.

      Agree with Rabid. Overplayed. Does anybody thing IBM will be a game changer in apps? Lotus - poof! OS2 - poof! Great for day trading this week but other than that - yawn.
      Luke Skywalker
  • Don't count Samsung as a member of Team Android

    Samsung adopted Android because it was an expedient to creating products: they basically went Android because they had to. They don't want to be there, beholding to Amazon, whom they don't trust. Samsung is putting a lot of resources into developing their own Tizen OS, to be able to define their own destiny.
    • Tizen is a complete waste of time.

      Samsung is fighting a losing battle trying to get mass adoption of Tizen. It's a complete joke to think they'll get any significant worldwide market share.