updated 12:01 am EST, Thu December 20, 2012
Apple's iOS line holds dominant stake in phone, tablet activations
Premium enterprise email outfit Intermedia has released results of its poll of small- and medium-business smartphone and tablet activations, showing Apple as having a hugely dominant presence in both areas, particularly in tablets. While combined sales of Android phones may be significantly larger than that of iPhone alone, when it comes to business the results are lopsided in the other direction, with Apple accounting for 68.2 percent of phone activations and 92.6 percent of tablet activations.
The data came from 500,000 email accounts hosted by Intermedia with Microsoft Exchange, and the statistics cover activations from September to November of this year. Because of the large sample size, the data is considered to be an accurate representation of mid-sized business customers.
In the smartphone arena, Android was a distant second with 25.1 percent of activations, with BlackBerry at 4.1 percent and Windows Phone at 2.6 percent. The company said the results may have skewed somewhat in Apple's favor due to the launch of the iPhone 5 in late September, which caused a surge of activations that rose 22 percent above normal -- but did not change the fact that iOS smartphones dominated the options, according to AppleInsider, which first reported the survey.
In tablets, where Apple has always been dominant, the only surprise was that the Microsoft Surface, a very late entrant to the fray, has already registered a 2.1 percent presence. Though it was the smallest measurable presence among the competitors, the Surface has only been available since early November and is presently only available outfitted with the more consumer-oriented Windows RT rather than the more traditional Windows Pro. Surface tablets with Windows Pro are not expected to launch until January, and will be the only models that can run legacy Windows applications. That the Surface has appeared in the business survey at all suggests that the product may find a foothold in the business market, particularly if the other principally business-oriented tablet OS (BlackBerry 10) fails to regain its audience once it is released in late January.
In the tablet portion of the survey, Intermedia saw 92.6 percent of new activations coming from the iPad, while the BlackBerry took second place with 5.3 percent of activations, leaving Android far behind with only 2.3 percent of activations. The dearth of tablet-oriented apps has often been blamed for the low acceptance of Android tablets, but in this case an emphasis by Google and its developers on gaming over productivity apps is also likely to be a factor.
Apple's dominance in small- and medium-business penetration reflects its success in larger enterprise as well. Most if not all of the Fortune 500 companies have said they are evaluating or deploying iOS devices among their workforces, led mainly by the trend in IT to allow employees to either bring their own device from home or have the option of choosing what platform they prefer, both of which have given Apple a strong and seemingly unshakeable lead, at least for the past three years.