updated 08:46 pm EST, Tue November 27, 2012
Corporate purchases of iPhones over six times that of BB units
Everyone knows that Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of the BlackBerry, have had a rough year -- but the disinterest in the platform has spread to even its most core constituency, corporate and enterprise buyers, industry analyst IDC reports. A significant portion of that disenchantment may stem from the burgeoning Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, that has seen a grass-roots exodus away from BlackBerrys in favor of iOS devices, along with some Android devices, amid growing impatience for BB10 to arrive.
To illustrate just how severe the business-sector decay in BlackBerry has been, in 2011 RIM shipped some 22.4 million BB phones to corporate buyers. In 2012, the figure has dropped to just 5.2 million corporate-bought units. Android phone sales to corporations was 15.1 million -- three times as high -- while iOS sales stand at 31.1 million.
Interestingly, the report notes that Android devices are being increasingly bought by employees, even outstripping employee-purchased iOS phones -- though business-bought smartphones still heavily favor Apple, with its stronger security and more consistent operating experience. IDC predicts that Android devices will account for 87.7 million in sales compared to iOS' 37.1 million in the "employee-purchased" work devices.
Consumer shipments are also down for the beleagured RIM, with 14.8 million devices shipped to consumers compared to Apple's 78.6 million. Android devices will account for 351.9 million units in the consumer sector worldwide this year. Though BlackBerry devices are still held to be the "gold standard" in security, recent compromises the company has been forced to make along with catch-up moves made in particular by Apple have whittled away the obvious advantages, and exposed a business model that relies heavily on dependence on expensive RIM server hardware and services compared the alternatives.
RIM has pinned its hopes on a comeback on the arrival of BB10, a rewritten operating system that will begin appearing early next year. Many fear the system, which promises to compete on the same level as iOS and Android, may be too little too late, and likewise discount the possibility of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 gaining a significant foothold in enterprise in the short term. IDC notes that global shipments of smartphones this year was just under 500 million devices, and predicts that shipments will reach 1.6 billion by 2016.