Google’s Android mobile operating system dominates the global consumer smartphone market with an 88% share through the third quarter of last year, compared to a 12% share for Apple’s iOS.
The race is much closer in the U.S., where Android’s market lead in the three months ending in November 2016 was 55% to 44%, according to research and consulting firm Kantar.
But as InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman notes, “Android devices rarely have significant presence within enterprise environments.”
“Even in the United States,” he writes, “where the market share for the two smartphones is roughly equal, iPhones account for about 70% to 90% of enterprise smartphones in use, according to various surveys.”
An inexplicable disparity? Not really.
The truth, as IT pros know, is that consumer needs are different than enterprise needs. Sure, in the age of the consumerized enterprise, the lines have blurred to some extent. Nonetheless, there are a few good reasons why enterprises are not rushing to embrace the leading mobile OS. Gruman touches on three you may have heard before:
- Lack of enterprise-grade apps
Sometime in 2010, after it became apparent that the devotion of iPhone owners to their devices had created a Trojan horse-like opportunity in the enterprise, Apple got serious about security, building a library of APIs designed to help enterprises improve device, content and access management, and developing strong encryption at the device level.
In addition, Apple’s App Store has done excellent job of thwarting malware infiltration attempts. Not so Google, whose Play Store long has been a playground for malware creators.
“Though Google has greatly strengthened Android device-level security — through a combination of cloning Apple’s API approach and adding the notion of containers to separate work and personal environments — the malware threat remains significant despite the progress that Google has made in limiting Android malware’s effects,” Gruman writes.
Then there’s fragmentation. There are so many versions of Android in the wild — and so many different manufacturers — that it creates an ongoing device management nightmare, a scenario usually near the bottom of an IT pro’s wish list. Apple, in contrast, rolls out new OS versions and updates with military precision. It’s no wonder enterprise IT pros charged with managing and securing mobile devices that access and store valuable data prefer the latter.
Finally, as Gruman says, Apple’s ecosystem simply has better enterprise-grade business apps from third-party vendors than Android, and has for many years. “Android needs serious support from business and enterprise software developers to get adoption beyond basic email access,” he writes.
Add it all up and it’s not hard to understand why the leader in consumer mobile is an afterthought in the enterprise.