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December 24, 2013

Apple Blinks, Samsung Slides to the Top

It's been a ding-dong battle in the enterprise smartphone market with Samsung and Apple (News - Alert) fighting for the leadership position. ABI Research's vendor matrix assessed that overall, Samsung deserved to be at the top, while Apple played second fiddle.

The finish however was very close; for the vendor matrix score separating Samsung and Apple was less than a single point. Apple easily outdid Samsung when it came to adoption by business users, but Samsung was deemed to be more innovative with a wider range of enterprise devices and better security features. This helped it nudge past Apple.

In fact, it was Apple's innovations that were primarily responsible for its initial lead in the enterprise market, but Samsung, a quick learner, stole the limelight away from Apple. Samsung became the first Android (News - Alert) OEM to offer an integrated enterprise solution, and that earned it enough brownie points to come first.

This is not to say that the enterprise mobility market lacks other players. ABI Research indicates that BlackBerry (News - Alert) (currently placed third) is having a tough time holding its own against Nokia. Although it received high scores for innovation, user adoption was less; and in an intense competitive environment, its market share was declining.

Although BlackBerry does have more mobility experience, the question begs as to whether it can     withstand Nokia, which now has Microsoft (News - Alert) pressure behind it. A push could just upset the apple cart. What remains to be seen is whether BlackBerry's gold standard in enterprise security supported by recent BES enhancements is sufficient to ward off a possible threat by Nokia.

Nine smartphone OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) were compared on eighteen criteria, and in the overall analysis, senior analyst, Jason McNicol believes that “There are two sets of OEM battles that need to be watched closely: Apple and Samsung and Nokia and BlackBerry.”

In a maturing smartphone market, practice director, Dan Shey (News - Alert) opined that OEMs could well begin to broaden their enterprise offerings. Also, with enterprise mobility gaining ground and mobile devices, apps, services playing greater and more important roles, the power balance could well be affected.

So who will rule in 2014? Samsung or Apple? Can BlackBerry or Nokia turn the tables? An interesting wait indeed.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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