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Who’s Ahead In The Enterprise Mobility Wars?

By on 21/09/2015

Technology giants are all scrambling to out-innovate each other and secure their devices and services in more consumers’ hands. This season, however, the market is watching Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung all scramble for their share of the enterprise market. PYMNTS breaks down the recent announcements of each conglomerate that shed light on their individual approaches to infiltrating the workforce.

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Apple Apps

Apple’s partnership with IBM to develop loads of enterprise-focused apps was launched several months ago, but in an effort to attract more corporate use of the iPhone and iPad, Apple is turning to other strategies. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is hoping that business use of the iPad will turn disappointing sales of the device around.

According to unnamed sources, Apple has launched what it calls the “mobility partner program,” an initiative that sees the conglomerate partnering with dozens of technology companies, large and small, to refocus the iPad for the workforce through developing accounting, sales and other business apps for the device.

WSJ said Apple has inked deals with corporate accounting tool Xero, among others, to help train Apple officials spearheading the venture and guide enterprise app development. The mobility partner program, or MPP, was first revealed in April during Apple’s earnings call, yet few details have emerged since. Unnamed sources told the publication that the company discourages public reference to the MPP.

Reports said that even some participants of the program are not entirely clear on some of its details.

According to WSJ, the venture signals that Apple is willing to enter less-charted territory for the typically consumer-centric firm. “The initiative is a bet that Apple, which has never been a big player in the $2 trillion annual spending on workplace technology, can grab a bigger slice of the market by reshaping the nature of work in mobile-friendly settings — where Apple has an edge,” the publication stated.

Microsoft(ware)

Apple rival Microsoft appears to be taking a different approach in its plans to snatch up shares of the enterprise market. The PC-maker has traditionally secured the lead when it comes to getting its devices into the hands of employees. When it comes to mobile devices, research shows that the Windows operating system is gaining speed.

But executives at the corporation seem to be turning toward back-end enterprise services to strengthen Microsoft’s presence in the sector.

Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella declared it to be the dawn of Software-as-a-Service, hinting that Microsoft would be ramping up its enterprise software efforts on top of getting its hardware into the workplace.

Last month Business Insider highlighted just how those efforts are reshaping the corporation. Microsoft is reportedly turning toward subscription-based services, and a massive contributor to this model is the company’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). The corporation’s COO Kevin Turner said the unit is likely to become a $1 billion business, while Nadella reportedly similarly expressed faith for EMS to drive Microsoft’s future growth.

The Enterprise Mobility Suite allows employees to login to the platform and access a slew of mobile-friendly enterprise apps, including Microsoft Office and Salesforce. And, reports said, that login works for any mobile device. If an employee receives a new phone or computer, their login will give them access to all of their enterprise apps straight from the cloud.

Google Gadgets

Google has been hustling to get its own computer, the Chromebook, in more consumer hands. But now, the business is looking to strengthen Chromebook sales by encouraging other companies to use the device.

Last week Google unveiled a new partnership with Dell to push the new Chromebook 13 laptop in the workplace. “Chromebooks are now ready for work,” declared Chrome for Work Project Management Director Rajen Sheth when announcing the collaboration.

According to analysts, the strongest edge Google has for its efforts is filling a needed gap in enterprise for a stronger operating system. Microsoft’s newly released Windows 10 Pro has been met with some speed bumps as enterprise users update the OS, and Apple’s iOS is losing ground in the market, reports said. That leaves a chance for Google’s Chrome OS to gain some popularity.

But Google’s enterprise push is also largely centered on efforts to get its devices into the sector. In addition to pushing Chromebooks, Google Glass, a flop with consumers, is reportedly headed for a resurrection, though this time Google will rebrand the wearable technology for members of the workforce.

Samsung Security

Finally, mobile device maker Samsung is also pivoting its strategy in an effort to claim enterprise. While the company is pushing for more Samsung devices — like its new Galaxy S6 edge+ — in the workforce, its latest focus is to strengthen the security of these tools to gain the trust of corporate users.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in addition to new mobile devices and partnerships with app developers, Samsung is launching an improved security system, Knox, upgraded to what the company calls a “defense-grade” platform. Plus, the company said it would plan to roll out security patches for Samsung devices running Google’s Android operating system every month.

In showcasing its security strength, Samsung is reportedly looking to ease friction within highly regulated sectors like government, healthcare and finance, allowing enterprise users to have security-compliant devices from the get-go. WSJ said that Samsung’s main rival is Apple, even as both lose market share, and is strategically focusing on the enterprise market to counter Apple’s own efforts in the space. But recent endorsements by Samsung executives for wearable technology in the workplace may also pit the company directly against Google when it comes to the enterprise market.