In the battle for the hearts and minds of enterprise mobile developers, Apple's iOS has taken a commanding lead as businesses show concern over Android, according to a recent survey of mobile developers by Appcelerator and IDC. Does Android's weakness in the enterprise open the door for Microsoft to get back in the game?
"The big news is that Apple's iOS took a dramatic lead over Google's Android in the enterprise app space," says Scott Ellison, vice president of Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC. "For developers, Android appears to be evolving more toward a consumer play, which in turn provides a key competitive opening for Microsoft in the enterprise mobile app space."
[ Updated for iOS 5, Android 4, BlackBerry OS 7, and Windows Phone 7.5: Learn how to manage mobile devices in InfoWorld's 20-page Mobile Management Deep Dive PDF special report. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]
The Appcelerator/IDC 2Q 2012 Mobile Report, based on a survey of 3,632 developers around the world, found that 53.2 percent of developers feel Apple's iOS will win in the enterprise, compared with 37.5 percent who feel Android will win. This is a dramatic 16 point shift from just three quarters ago, when developers felt they were in a dead heat at 44 percent each.
"Kind of contrary to the conventional wisdom, Apple's focus on the enterprise is netting results," says Michael King, director of Enterprise Strategy for Appcelerator, provider of multi-platform tools for mobile app development.
Enterprises concerned by Android fragmentation, malware
King says Appcelerator and IDC believe Apple's success (and Android's difficulty) among enterprise developers is based upon a number of factors, including the following:
- increasingly high levels of Android fragmentation, leading to increasing complexity of enterprise device and software management
- frequent stories of Android malware, compared to relatively few reports of iOS malware, which creates concerns among enterprise IT management
- anecdotal, but increasingly consistent, reports of IT managers re-evaluating potential enterprise-wide support for Android beyond simpler implementations like email access or M2M
- the success of the Apple iPad in a number of industry verticals, which creates a halo effect for iOS devices including iPhone in the enterprise
Developers like Metro UI for Windows 8
Both Appcelerator and IDC are careful to note that the full effect of Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its IT management and support assets have yet to be felt in the market. But with Microsoft about to enter the field with Windows 8 tablets and phones, Android's failure to take the enterprise market by storm may just give Microsoft the opening it needs.
"We see an opportunity for Windows 8 in the enterprise," King says. "Our developers think the Metro UI is cool. They're optimistic about Windows 8, but they're also very cautious. They're not really excited about developing for Windows 7, and they also believe the Lumia launch has been pretty lame to date. While they're very optimistic about Window 8, they're not committing a lot of resources yet."