A report from analyst firm CCS Insight predicts that Windows Mobile will overtake both Android and BlackBerry to become the second most-popular business mobile OS, by the end of 2016. Apple’s iOS is expected to retain the lead.
Windows Phone UK Director Leila Martine has said that Microsoft would become the most used mobile operating system in the UK B2B market by mid-2015, according to a report in Mobile News. “At that time, Nokia handsets, which make up 95 percent of all Windows Phones, had an 18 percent share (figures from Canalys), compared with Apple, which made up 35 percent of the market,” the story said. “CCS also predicted that combined revenue from the big four U.S. mobile operators (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) will surpass the whole European sector in 2015. This will lead to subtle changes to telecoms regulations as the new EU Commission adopts a more sympathetic stance to mobile operators.”
There is little doubt that mobile will have a huge impact on enterprise IT in the new few years, especially as smartphones not only replace earlier-generation phones, but tablets, laptops and desktops as well.
There are three parallel mobile issues at play here. First, there is data and current (and future) smartphones’ ability to handle far more of it. Mobile apps that used to max out at a few Mbytes are topping 100-Mbytes. Secondly, because newer phones can handle those app sizes, the functionality and capability of mobile apps is lightyears more robust than just a year ago. The ability to interact with corporate networks, coupled with that data capacity and app functionality, means potentially huge IT changes. Add to that the fact that mobile payments are finally materializing and mobile is barely just the jurisdiction of the telecom department.
The third parallel issue is BYOD. Whether that will mean that employee-owned consumer smartphones will also be handling corporate data or the opposite—with company-owned smartphones going home at night and interacting with consumer and personal data, it also has huge security issues. Will there be adequate partitioning to separate personal from business? If an employee leaves the company, can the corporate data be forcibly remote-wiped from an employee-owned device? And how much can/should corporate IT employees be able to see personal data (images? Financial records? Personal E-mails?) from corporate-owned devices?
BlackBerry is now attempting to make a play for corporate smartphone dollars, pushing both its security as well as its BYOD capabilities. BlackBerry may be slightly ahead of its time, which may not be ideal for them given the limited timeframe to regain reasonable corporate marketshare. Its security differentiator is that it can protect all communication, including voice transmissions, texts and E-mails, something that iOS, Windows and Android do not claim to do.
The problem is that there have been no publicized attacks on those areas. There have hardly been any corporate data attacks based on smartphones at all—yet. And it’s that yet that BlackBerry is focusing on.