Google, Apple fight for enterprise mobility dominance while Microsoft, BlackBerry lurk in shadows

While the battle over enterprise mobility dominance has been historically unpredictable, the main players are ever-refining their platforms to reach the top. Recent conferences from Apple and Google showed their plans to separate themselves from one another and lurking mobility competitors Microsoft and BlackBerry.

The iPhone--created with the average consumer in mind but reined into the enterprise by BYOD enthusiasts--became the de facto leader in business devices, with 72 percent of total device activations in Q1, according to Good Technology. David Akka, at enterpriseappstech, notes that the iPhone became a workplace success because it is geared toward creative usability, and the more overlap in use cases that exist between consumers and enterprise users, the better.

Apple has packed a few notable enterprise features into iOS 8, which was announced at WWDC early in June and is expected to be released this fall. VMware provides a complete rundown of the new features, the most notable being expanded data protection, encryption on singular messages, always-on VPN, and productivity additions that allow teammates to access availability and management features that give IT more oversight.

Meanwhile, Google--long hampered by its reputation as a security sieve--used its I/O conference at the end of June to unveil stronger defenses for its Android operating system. Along with plans to let companies bulk purchase apps and improve the popular Drive platform with admin functionality, the company announced it will team up with Samsung to integrate its Knox security container on all devices, a move designed to help check the straying Korean company (Samsung released its own OS, Tizen, in June) and shore up cybersecurity woes.

BlackBerry, popularly portrayed as a has-been these days, took the announcement by Google and Samsung as an opportunity to laud their own record of security performance. CEO John Chen released a short statement congratulating his two competitors on finally getting their houses in order, but warned of their inexperience.

"Don't be dazzled by those who can talk the security talk," Chen said. "Instead, look to the company that has proven repeatedly it can walk the walk."

Of all the big names in enterprise, Microsoft has had the toughest time attracting the mobile workforce. And the tepid response from critics and consumers alike to the Windows Phone 8 has not helped matters.

However, Akka says that the company's position as a desktop powerhouse is saving it for now, and perhaps it can leverage that advantage into smartphone sales.

"This approach to enterprise mobility is not really surprising, as this is how Windows PCs and laptops originally became consumer devices," he says.

For more:
- read Akka's blog post at enterpriseappstech
- check out the report on enterprise mobility market shares from Good Technology
- read BlackBerry CEO John Chen's thoughts on Google and Samsung

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