Why iOS continues to appeal to businesses

Apple’s iOS continues to drive the majority of mobile devices in the corporate world, but Android continues to claim its share of the pie.

At one time, BlackBerry dominated enterprise mobility, but failed to resist Apple’s onslaught. And even if Microsoft makes free mobile version of Windows available to manufacturers of smartphones, it has met with little success in the professional world. Not surprisingly, the battle is between iOS and Android.

The fourth quarter 2014 edition of the Good Technology Mobility Index reported 73% of activations for iOS, compared to 25% for Android and only 1% for Windows. For Apple’s operating system, it was 7 points better than two quarters earlier.

MDM paves the way for iOS support

There is a good reason for that. Version 7 of iOS has introduced a number of administration features designed directly for businesses, such as SSO, and especially a complete redesign of MDM services that appeared with iOS 4 .

But as promising as they may have appeared, these features only covered a limited scope. For example, the DSI could only prohibit the use of the AirDrop data sharing feature on devices in supervised mode. But associated with the reputation of safety of iOS – especially compared to Android – these features have convinced many CIOs to support the mobile OS Apple.

With iOS 8, Apple has added new management capabilities . Administrators have begun to push e-books to their users, lock certain areas of a device, and check which files are accessible to an application. This new version of iOS also added support for on-demand and per-application VPN connections, extended password usage, and automated enrollment in MDMs. What to satisfy a little more CIOs.

Apple has gone further with iOS 9 , including upgrading its volume licensing program, or allowing an app to be assigned to a device rather than a user. The DSI thus gains full control over how its applications are installed, configured, administered and updated.

In addition, the success of iOS in business has had a ripple effect on publishers: they have begun to produce enterprise-class mobile apps like Roambi and Salesforce. Even Microsoft now offers iOS versions of its Office suite . And Apple’s partnership with IBM in the field of enterprise mobility encourages the development of business applications.

Android resists

Google has not remained idle and has also committed to evolve Android to meet the needs of businesses. For instance, with version 4.0 of his mobile operating system, he introduced full terminal encryption and an API for VPNs.

Android 5.0 Lollipop extends this work with new features in MDM. But even if Android appears as a cost-effective alternative to iOS, Google is still struggling to convince the CIOs.

Android for Work is Google’s answer to ISDs’ doubts: it is an administrative platform that supports both employee-owned devices and enterprise-provisioned devices, with the key to remote administration and simplification of application deployments. Android for Work also enables third-party MDM tools to batch-enroll Android devices , or to manage business applications and data separately from apps and personal data.

But it is up to the device manufacturers to implement these additional features in a transparent and consistent way. And many of them focus solely on the mainstream market, neglecting the features thought for businesses. In addition, Google is dependent on manufacturers for distributing updates on devices they have already sold. Which often takes time. And these manufacturers are even likely to alter Android so that their devices are permanently blocked on an older version of the OS.

But it does not matter that iOS dominates the corporate market today: Apple will not stand idle, waiting for its competitors to catch up.

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