Crushed under an avalanche of Angry Birds, FourSquare check-ins, and Skype chatter, the BlackBerry is finally losing its grip on the enterprise.
At least, that’s what mobile services seller iPass found in its latest survey of people who use mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones for work.
Last year, mobile workers surveyed by iPass reported that more companies allowed BlackBerries than any other smartphone — nearly 35 percent, compared to 31 percent for the iPhone. Now the iPhone reigns supreme. This year, it was allowed in 45 percent of the 1,100 companies surveyed, compared to just 32 percent for the BlackBerry.
Google’s Android is making inroads too. The iPass survey found that Android usage had jumped from 11 percent in 2010 to 21 percent this year.
What’s going on? Corporate IT is loosening its grip on mobile devices, says Kevin Murray vice president of product marketing at iPass. “Back in the day the corporation bought your phone and they told you what you were going to have,” he says. Now fewer companies are provisioning smartphones. “They’re saying you can bring your iPhone in and we’re going to give you access.”
And it’s not just so that social media addicts can post Twitter updates from the water cooler.
Enterprise IT likes the BlackBerry because it is easy to lock down and centrally control. But, in the past year the iPhone and iPad have really broken through, says Raffi Tchakmakjian, vice-president of product management with Trellia, a company that sells mobile device management services to corporations. And everytime a BlackBerry wielding CEO sees a competitor using an iPhone or an iPad, that just puts pressure on the IT department to loosen up and allow Apple in.
“85 percent of my business right now is based on iPhone and iPad management,” Tchakmakjian says.
(Photo courtesy Flickr/Braden Kowitz)