Bad news for Android: enterprise share dropped in Q4

Apple’s iOS increased its dominance of the enterprise market in the fourth quarter, based on activation data from mobile device management vendor Good Technology.

In its semiannual mobile device activation analysis, Good reports that nearly 77% of devices activated by its corporate customers in Q4 2012 were powered by iOS, up from 71% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Further, the top five most popular devices were from Cupertino:

1. iPhone 5 (32% of total Q4 mobile device activations)

2. iPhone 4S (20%)

3. iPhone 4 (14%)

4. iPad 3 (11.7%)

5. iPad 2 (7.7%)

Where does that leave Android in the enterprise mobile market? In about the same place that Yahoo is in search -- next to nowhere. Despite a couple of bright spots (which we’ll get to), Android’s already modest share of the enterprise mobile OS market actually declined in Q4 2012 to 22.7% from 29% in the year-ago quarter. Windows Phone even took 0.5% market share from Android in Q4. (How much must that sting?)

Obviously these numbers represent only a subset of all enterprise mobile device activations, but Good’s more than 4,000 customers include half of the Fortune 100 and span a number of major industries, including healthcare, financial services, technology, retail, entertainment, life sciences and government. So it’s a survey that includes some huge enterprises that take mobile deployments seriously -- and they seriously prefer iOS.

“What we’re seeing at the end of Q4 is roughly in line with what we’ve seen in the past, where iOS still commands a pretty significant share of activations of our customers,” says John Herrema, Good’s senior vice president of corporate strategy.

Herrema does note, though, some progress for Android in one area.

“The most significant shift we’ve seen in this report with Android is they are getting a larger share of tablet activations,” he says.

Which leads to the modest good news for Android. Tablets powered by Google’s mobile OS increased to 6.8% of total device activations in Q4, up from 2.7% a year ago. Good “attributes this spike in part to the rise of hybrid phone-tablet devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note.”

Other minor bright spots for Android:

* Android smartphones slightly outpaced iPads in October and finished Q4 only a fraction behind the iPad at 21% of all activations.

* The Samsung Galaxy SIII – the most popular Android device in the Good report – had 6% of total activations in Q4.

Given Samsung’s efforts to establish itself as the de facto Android platform in the enterprise – the company’s Samsung SAFE program is designed to ease the fears of enterprise IT pros regarding Android’s security – the Galaxy smartphone’s popularity could be an important foothold in the enterprise, especially with the S4 expected to be released in April.

Herrema, though, isn’t sure.

“I don’t know that at any given point, especially with Android, that any one model is going to have as significant an impact as the iPhone,” he says.

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