Apple iPhone Beating BlackBerry In The Workplace


More bad news for RIM after a survey found the Apple iPhone is the top handset among business users

Research In Motion’s BlackBerry has lost its business crown after iPass’ Mobile Workforce Report found that Apple’s iPhone and Google Android continue to make inroads among enterprise users.

The news is significant, as it seems that the iPhone and Android is outpacing both the BlackBerry, as well as Microsoft’s smartphone efforts.

Smartphones Dominate

The quarterly report is based on 2,300 responses from employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide, according to iPass. Some 49 percent of respondents were based in North America, another 32 percent in Europe and 12 percent in the Asia/Pacific region. Some 95 percent of mobile workers now have smartphones, according to the survey, representing a rise from 85 percent last year. Of those, about 91 percent use their smartphone for work-related duties, an increase from 69 percent in 2010.

According to the survey, some 45 percent of mobile workers rely on Apple’s iPhone, a rise from 31 percent in 2010. That outpaces BlackBerry with 32.2 percent (down from 34.5 percent last year), Android with 21.3 percent (up from 11.3 percent) and “Microsoft Windows Mobile” – which presumably also includes Windows Phone – with 5.5 percent (down from 9.6 percent).

Symbian/Nokia was good for 7.4 percent of the total respondent base, down from 12.4 percent in 2010. With Nokia planning to abandon homegrown operating systems such as Symbian in favour of Windows Phone, this segment will presumably continue to fall into 2012.

RIM Headache

BlackBerry also faces some significant challenges. “In 2012, it looks like iPhone will continue to lead in the enterprise, followed by Android smartphones with Microsoft Windows Mobile smartphones a distant third,” read a summary of the report. “The day of the BlackBerry-only shop is becoming a thing of the past, with only 28 percent of mobile workers given no choice when it came to smartphone selection.”

The proliferation of different smartphone brands in the enterprise, in fact, is apparently leading to some IT administrators deciding to end their BlackBerry programs. “Four percent of mobile employees reported that their companies had or were in the process of discontinuing support for the BlackBerry, followed by the Nokia/Symbian, and Microsoft Windows Mobile,” the report summary added. “In 2012, as the mobile workforce grows and as iPhone and Android deployments soar, BlackBerry adoption will remain stagnant. These numbers remain consistent globally.”

Events over the next few quarters could radically shift the market. RIM is prepping a line of QNX-based “superphones” to replace its longstanding line of BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry OS. Microsoft is making a hard push for Windows Phone, in conjunction with Nokia and other manufacturing partners. And Apple is targeting the midmarket with a cheaper iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. By this time in 2012, therefore, the market numbers could look radically different.

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