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Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 7:00pm
Citrix: Apple tops and gaining in enterprise use, share
A new report by business networking giant Citrix has taken a look at the global usage and activation share of the top mobile platforms, and confirms other recent findings that iOS is not only dominant in enterprise, but is actually gaining ground against competitors. The study found some surprising variations in platform patterns in the three primary world regions, but saw Apple as the largest share in all three. It also noted that the iOS versions Numbers and Pages have become popular alternatives to Microsoft Office for many enterprise users.

Thanks to the lack of a tablet-based version of Microsoft Office (except on the poor-selling Surface tablets), Citrix ranks Apple's Numbers as the top productivity app for mobile business users (and fourth overall), followed by cloud-storage providers Box, Dropbox and Evernote, with the iOS version of Pages coming in fifth in the category. MS Office-compatible options like Docs2Go, QuickOffice and GoodReader rounded out the productivity picks.

Apple's iBooks app also broke into the top 20 list of enterprise apps, coming in tops in the "Books" category and placing 10th overall. Google Earth was the last entry in the top 20 and tops in the "travel" category, while Facebook was the social network of choice (placed 14th overall) and Bloomberg the "finance" category winner at number 15 overall. Unsurprisingly, Citrix's own Receiver app -- which provides secure access to Windows desktops, email and servers -- was the runaway top business app in the poll. Citrix's user base is very heavily Windows-centric for desktop and laptop use, making the strong adoption of iOS and the failure of Windows Mobile all the more remarkable.

Gains by iOS in the most recent quarter showed overall growth of 58 percent, compared to Android's drop of 35 percent among business users. Windows Mobile, which has only a tiny grip in North America but is a clear third-place presence in the Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region, maintained its seven percent overall world marketshare.

Percentages varied greatly for all three business platforms depending on region: in North America, iOS has a 62 percent share, with Android at 35 percent and Windows Mobile at three percent. By contrast, Android has 36 percent share in the EMEA region, just barely behind Apple's 43 percent with the rest (21 percent) going to Windows Mobile. In the Asia-Pacific region, Windows Mobile has no significant presence and Apple dominates, 75 percent to Android's 25 percent.

Android's relatively poor performance in enterprise compared to its success in consumer markets is due to a number of factors, but the Citrix study noted that the platform was also the source of nearly all of the "increase in mobile malware that the industry saw over the past year," citing stats from McAfee that 97 percent of the mobile malware it found was Android-based. McAfee also claims that "unique malware samples" have risen to 40,000 for mobile in 2012.

The study also details exactly what industries it looked at and how each platform did in respective areas. For example, Windows Mobile is heavily dominant in the oil and gas industries (to the point that Android and particularly iOS are all but invisible factors), but a tiny niche player everywhere else. Android devices are dominant in the communications technology, healthcare, non-profit, transportation and utilities sectors -- sometimes overwhelmingly so, such as in healthcare -- but shrinks to near-insignificance in the energy, entertainment, insurance, legal services, leisure and real-estate markets, with iOS dominating those areas.

Apple's iOS is also in majority share in areas such as banking, business services, education, financial services, government, manufacturing and retail/restaurants. The "high-tech" sector is the only one where iOS and Android are nearly equally represented, with most sectors showing a majority stake for iOS.

Citrix noted that iOS devices in the healthcare sector were still frequently seen in frontline service providers such as hospitals, but Android had clearly found favor with "mobile healthcare organizations including home healthcare groups" and was the well-established leader in that market. It broke down the differences by saying that iOS did best in "industries in which mobile users engage customers one-on-one, such as retail and restaurants" while Android tended to do well among "mobile field service organizations such as transportation and utilities."

One of the most remarkable things about the Citrix study overall is the rate of flux and change in mobile enterprise. Four years ago, Windows Mobile would have dominated every category by a wide margin, and Android would have been a complete non-presence.

Apple's "share" in enterprise has grown 58 percent in just the last quarter, taking device activations and adoption away from Android. Microsoft's Windows Mobile has stagnated to a global seven percent usage, with only one remaining industry stronghold. North America, which continues to represent the largest slice (71 percent) of the global enterprise market, sees iOS gaining share at the expense of Android -- a trend that has also been reflected to a smaller extent in recent end-user sales data.