The timing couldn’t be better for Android to increase its penetration into the enterprise, especially with Android mobile devices, as of the third quarter of this year, representing 81.9% of total market share (consumer and business) and with BYOD policies becoming increasingly prevalent. Also, as recently as 2010, Blackberry dominated the enterprise in smartphone sales, but since then, its market share has plummeted, creating a huge opportunity for Android. Likewise, the iPhone (iOS), experiencing great success in consumer markets sales in recent years, found its way into the enterprise, and in 2011 became the leader in enterprise market penetration. However, that too is projected to change by year end, with Android overtaking the iPhone with an estimated 50% of enterprise market share. (Source: line graph by IDC).
South Korean-based Samsung, the worldwide leader in Android mobile phones, has led the charge in seizing the opportunity for Android mobile device penetration of the enterprise market. Understanding that security is perceived to be the greatest concern among IT managers, particularly with Android devices, the company launched its Knox security platform, which provides security from the hardware through the application layer. The objective of Knox was to provide greater management and control over employees’ Samsung mobile devices, enabling IT managers to disable any devices that are lost or stolen and receive alerts when a device has been hacked or decoded.
Despite upgrades to Knox security as recently as three months ago, Samsung has encountered some problems serving its large business customers, including the US government. Some of the problems have come in the way of delayed roll outs of Knox in its popular models, like the Galaxy S4, due to deficiencies and bugs detected in the software. For that matter, Samsung didn’t launch any device pre-loaded with Knox until September, when the Galaxy Note-3 phone tablet was launched.
By most accounts, enterprise customers seem willing to work with Samsung developers in meeting their stringent demands in both security and customer support, despite a rough start in both of these areas. And despite Blackberry’s recent decline, Blackberry is still heralded as the standard for enterprise mobile systems, especially in security, against which Samsung’s success will continue to be measured. Progress is being made, but Knox will likely need more refinements before it is at enterprise grade security.
Realizing the challenges of conquering the enterprise and representing enterprise sales as its highest priority, Samsung released a public statement two weeks ago, stating the company had received strong interest and positive feedback from its customers about Knox, adding that it is working with several Fortune 500 and government customers on deploying the security system and expected large scale success in 2014. (Source: WSJ, “Samsung’s Next Challenge: Selling Phones to Business,” 12/04/13.)
No doubt, Samsung has a ways to go to become the dominant player in the enterprise for mobile devices. As an ISV partner of Samsung, we at MobileGuard are confident they will succeed.