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The Enterprise Mobility Market Share Myth: Part III

I’ll admit it.  I’m going to rant a little bit here.  It’s still early in the morning, but for the record, I did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed and yes, I have had enough coffee thus far to pass the typical morning decaffeinated brain freeze.  However, I do get annoyed when people don’t understand the difference between installed base and shipments in the context of market share.  Take this recent article on ZDNet talking about the enterprise implications of the Android explosion in 2010.

According to Canalys, Android jumped from an 8.7 percent overall share to nearly a 33 percent share over the course of one year, knocking Nokia out of the top spot and reducing RIM’s share almost 5 percentage points and resulting in over 615 percent growth for the platform overall in CY 2010.

OK, so we can debate the accuracy of these numbers, but this was for Q4 SHIPMENTS…..not installed base.  Furthermore, this was an overall number, and does not look specifically at enterprise adoption.  Now let’s be clear….I am not confused by the concept of the consumerization of enterprise mobility.  For what it’s worth, my good friends at Strategy Analytics have some good data on the actual installed base market share.  Who’s #1?  That would be BlackBerry…followed closely by iOS and Android….respectively.

But let’s take a step back.  Certainly, shipments are indicative of momentum, and there’s no question that Android has tremendous momentum.  But in the enterprise, things are still slightly different.  If you look at the recently published study by Good Technology, iOS was the number one activated platform in the enterprise…but even THAT is completely skewed because it doesn’t take into account BlackBerry devices.  In fact, the Good study does state that it did not include BlackBerry (because Good doesn’t work on BlackBerry).

So let’s look also at some recent research that the EMF conducted with Strategy Analytics and FierceMobileIT to see what mobile OS platforms companies are planning on supporting in 2011.  The top three are Android, BlackBerry, iOS.  The difference in rankings between the three?  Plus or minus 5% – meaning they’re neck and neck (and neck).  So the winner in the enterprise is….

Who knows.

There’s simply too much flux in the marketplace to crown a winner.  RIM is starting its migration to QNX….Android has Honeycomb coming out in the not too distant future for tablets, Windows Phone 7 is making inroads in the workplace (albeit a distant 4th) and iOS keeps on firing on all cylinders.  What’s more….which platform will be best suited for mobile cloud computing?

Articles that talk about the success and failures of any one platform make a good headline today, but enterprises don’t work in the today mode.  Sure, things are accelerating, but organizations need to take a longer term approach to how to go about deploying, supporting and managing mobile devices.


  1. Posted February 1, 2011 at 18:02 | Permalink

    It is much more sensational for articles to pronounce definitive winners and losers. Gray is such a drab color… who wants to read about that? The good news is that it makes the voice of objective analysts that much more important.

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  2. Posted February 1, 2011 at 19:23 | Permalink


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  3. Posted February 11, 2011 at 22:53 | Permalink

    If currently +/-5% (neck and neck), then that doesn’t bode well for RIM. The Blackberry is the obvious choice of device for email. Safe and secure via a vertically-integrated and robust security model. That’s why “neck and neck” surprises me. “Consumerization of IT” is a tide, and it has only just begun for mobile devices. To abuse the analogies, RIM’s “sea walls” are coming down – which I’d define as their relative competitive advantage over other OS’s. Tide will rise and barriers will fall. Android and iOS have a long way to go in the enterprise. RIM may have as long a way down.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Philippe Winthrop, Rapid_App_Dev. Rapid_App_Dev said: The Enterprise Mobility Market Share Myth III via @the_emf_dot_org –> Why you can't bet on just 1 mobile platform. [...]

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