Shift to corporate-owned tablets could knock iPad off its perch

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More businesses will issue tablets in the coming years, offering opportunity for both Android and Microsoft, said analyst Jack Gold. In fact, the trend could help Android and Windows topple iPad among tablets used in the enterprise.

Gold's firm conducted a broad-based survey of mobile strategies and adoption plans of 270 North American enterprises and found that corporate issued tablets will grow at an average annual growth rate of 64 percent over the next three years. By comparison, BYOD tablets will only grow at a 31 percent rate.

One big reason that businesses are looking to deploy and support tablets is that they’re realizing that the acquisition cost is only a very small piece -- 10 percent to 15 percent -- of the overall cost of supporting tablets, Gold said. Owning the device, which people may use to access more sophisticated apps than on their phones, gives the company better control over the results, he told CITEworld.

An increase in company-owned tablets offers an opportunity for Microsoft, but Gold still expects Android to be the winner. “Android will grow faster and bigger but Windows will grow too,” he said.

“What this does is gives an advantage to the traditional OEM vendors who supply enterprises,” Gold said. Businesses are likely to turn to suppliers they’ve worked with for years, like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. Since those businesses are selling Windows tablets, and since Windows has a long history in the enterprise, businesses are likely to at least consider the Windows tablets.

However, most of those OEMs now also sell Android tablets. And businesses are less and less worried about Android security, Gold said. The OS itself has improved and there are many good third party products available to help secure them, he said.

In fact, Gold expects that in two or three years, Android will overtake iPads as the most deployed tablets in the enterprise.

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