Samsung ramps up efforts to gain enterprise mobility market share

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S5 and the second version of its Knox mobile security platform at the Mobile World Congress as part of an effort to gain a greater share of the enterprise mobility market--a market left open by BlackBerry's stumbles.

Samsung is betting that it can leverage the popularity of the Android platform in the consumer market to gain a greater share of the enterprise mobility market. Some industry observers, such as Bill Seibel, CEO of Mobiquity, believe Apple has the upper hand in the battle for the enterprise (see FierceMobileIT's exclusive interview with Seibel.)

The new Galaxy S5 has a high rating for dust and water resistance and has a number of enterprise security features, such as two-factor authentication that uses password and fingerprint verification and Samsung's Knox mobile security platform.

Knox upgrades announced at MWC include cloud-based enterprise mobility management, support for third-party containers from Good, Fixmo and MobileIron, as well as an enterprise app marketplace for small and medium-sized business and a split-billing feature that separates charges for enterprise and personal use.

At the same time, uptake of Knox by enterprises has been slow. Despite selling more than 25 million Knox-enabled devices, only 1 million have been activated on the Knox platform. Samsung hopes to turn that around, boasting that 210,000 Knox-enabled devices are being activated per month.

"While the newest version of the solution does not require applications to be wrapped (due to kernel enhancements) in order to work with KNOX, we wonder whether apps will need to be modified in order to work, and whether this could pose a potential problem for Samsung down the road," explains Kathryn Nassberg, an analyst with VDC.

Samsung still has "considerable gaps on the service side" that it needs to overcome to be become a serious enterprise mobility player with multinational firms. The "firm needs to establish a more direct relationship, both with partners and with end-users," Nassberg advises.

The Korean firm faces competition in the enterprise, as BlackBerry is betting it can recapture the enterprise market and Apple and Microsoft are also maneuvering for the enterprise mobility market. The question remains whether Samsung can turn its strong position in the consumer smartphone market into a similar position in the enterprise.

For more:
- see Samsung's Galaxy S5 and Knox announcements
- read the VDC blog

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