Can Apple replace Blackberry in the Enterprise?


This morning I read two reports about Apple’s growing base in India and in the enterprise. There was a time when BlackBerry had a lot of share in the enterprise smartphone space, but that share is quickly eroding. 

A report by Greyhound research says “Enterprises In Emerging Markets Increase Support For Apple Devices in 2013 and 2014″. The report is based on a survey of 300 senior IT decision makers in the APJ and MEA regions.

Full report: http://biztech2.in.com/news/mobility/enterprises-in-emerging-markets-increase-support-for-apple-devices/162372/0

Some of the key trends highlighted in this study are:

  • In emerging markets, Apple products are making their presence felt in the enterprise. 
  • Apple users are spread across multiple types – while the younger population in APJ and MEA continues to lead adoption, the senior, well paid executives are the next biggest base of users for Apple’s products
  • IT teams now support the Apple family of products, with iPhone and iPad as key priority
  • Google Android is not a platform of choice for enterprises in emerging markets

The second report appeared in the Tech section of the Times of India (online edition). It is titled “iPhone sales in India impress Apple CEO Tim Cook”. In this news report Cook says iPhone sales are growing 400% in India, year-on-year; iPad sales are growing in double digits. You can read the full story here: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-24/hardware/40770637_1_apple-ceo-tim-cook-iphones-ipads

My thoughts…

I’ve observed that a lot of corporate  users in India still own BlackBerry devices, though some are swapping their BlackBerrys for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. The presence of Sony and Nokia phones is steadily increasingly in the enterprise.

With consumers, I see that the choice is Android (and Samsung) — or Sony Xperia and HTC.

But with the whole BYOD thing (and the fact that corporates are more receptive to multiple platforms now), I don’t think any one brand will dominate — it will be a matter of personal choice.

I had a quick conversation with my analyst friend Sanchit Vir Gogia (Greyhound Research) to discuss this.

My point is that if Apple were to replace BlackBerry in the Enterprise, it would have to match the same robust security. And Sanchit argued that the security in iOS 7 is “enterprise class”.

The other thing is that Apple does not yet have an MDM (mobile device management) platform like Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES). Sanchit argued that any good MDM solution would support iOS devices (BES 10 included).

And finally, I asked Sanchit about Enterprise App Stores. While the Apple App store has a lot of consumer-centric apps what about enterprise apps? What about enterprises that want to set up their own private app stores for their internal and external customers?

To which Sanchit offered that Apple offers the Volume Purchase Program for Business (http://www.apple.com/business/vpp/). VPP is a way for enterprises to get custom B2B apps built by third-party developers.

So, will Apple replace BlackBerry in the enterprise? The moot question is “Will Apple be a dominant force in the enterprise?”

Tweet me your thoughts at @brian9p

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