iPhone uptake to increase in enterprise, but BlackBerry still king

Smartphones from Apple and Microsoft expected to further encroach on RIM’s market share in Asia-Pacific

Business users in Asia-Pacific are expected to continue the uptake of iPhones to the tune of 455,000 units in 2016, according to analyst firm, Ovum.

Despite Apple traditionally paying little attention to the enterprise market, illustrated by the lack of systems management, virtualisation and security infrastructure that are characteristic of companies that target enterprise IT, Ovum expects that the Cupertino-based company will sustain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent based on the 189,000 units it will ship at the end of the year.

Ovum principal analyst, Pauline Trotter, said the growth of the iPhone in the enterprise was due to “the consumerisation effect” of smartphone and companies not providing employees with these types of devices due to cost constraints.

“The majority of companies in Asia Pacific do not provide mobile devices to their employees,” Trotter said.

“The bring-your-own-device [BYOD] policy is already a reality in the region.”

While Apple’s smartphone has been forecast to make impressive inroads into the enterprise, the outlook is even rosier for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, with the analyst expecting that Redmond’s market share will reach 25 per cent in 2016.

Enterprise shipments of Windows Phone smartphones in Asia-Pacific are already tipped to reach 236,000 by the end of the year, and based on a CAGR of 37 per cent Ovum expects that 1.1 million devices will be sold in 2016.

Numbers such as these should be a source of worry for RIM, whose shipment of BlackBerry devices is expected to also reach 25 per cent in 2016.

While 638,000 BlackBerry devices are expected to be pushed out by the end of the year, Ovum only expects a CAGR of 12 per cent resulting in 1.1 million units at the end of 2016.

“BlackBerry will remain the overall leader for the forecast period as its strong device management and security capabilities make it a favourite with IT departments,” Trotter said.

“However, reflecting trends in the consumer smartphone market, Windows Phone and other OS devices will make significant gains.”

Overall, shipments of business smartphones in Asia-Pacific are predicted to rise from the expected 2.5 million at the end of the year to 4.5 million in 2016 based on a CAGR of 12 per cent.

Trotter attributed the growth to a need by enterprises to support business applications on handheld devices as they adopt more flexible working patterns and further empower employees when working on the move.

“Ongoing improvements in manageability of these device platforms, and support for more business applications, will begin to make these devices much more appealing to enterprise buyers,” Trotter said.

Ovum recently predicted that mobile phone shipments in 2016 will hit 836 million off the back of growing emerging markets and the proliferation of broadband enabled handsets.