With BlackBerry now struggling to finance itself while in the midst of a major executive and board transition, Other smartphone brands are now eyeing the lucrative enterprise market that BlackBerry once led.
Samsung is diving into Android security software with its KNOX offering, while Apple is also beginning to court businesses with new security features in its latest iPhone, the iPhone 5S. Still, the failure of BlackBerry could help Microsoft most of all, as it is well-positioned in other enterprise markets to make Windows Phone 8 a major part of its enterprise offerings and ecosystem.
Market research firm ABI Research today predicted that as the consumer smartphone segment in established markets begins to saturate, manufacturers will begin including software and features in their to lure enterprise sales. More specifically, Apple's recent expansion of VPP control, EMM/MDM, and application management in its new iOS 7 mobile operating system will spur the industry on, though Apple itself is not predicted to increase its share of the enterprise smartphone market.
“There was a lot of excitement with the release of iOS 7, especially in the enterprise where Apple included features enterprises were longing for," said Jason McNicol, senior analyst at ABI. "Some of those features, however, were not terribly innovative when compared to the services offered by the EMM/MDM market, while other enhancements have relatively limited functionality. Despite the positive market buzz, iOS7 enterprise features are unlikely to increase its enterprise presence. Plenty of market opportunity remains, especially for a company like Microsoft.”
ABI predicts that Apple will maintain its 18% smartphone market share "for the foreseeable future." Meanwhile, Microsoft is seen growing Windows Phone to 6% of the smartphone market within the next five years. Microsoft's platform growth is likely to be led by Europe and enterprise customers are expected to follow.
“Surprisingly, there are quite a few similarities between Apple and Microsoft allowing for a good comparison of the two platforms," said Dan Shey, practice director at ABI. "While Apple has a significant lead over Microsoft, Microsoft is learning from Apple. If Microsoft keeps its promises for enterprise features expansion, we expect it to gain market share among mobile business customers.”