40%: Australian enterprise prefers the iPhone


news 40 percent of Australian enterprises now see the iPhone as their preferred staff smartphone model, new research has revealed, in a remarkable demonstration of just how dramatically Apple’s flagship handset has shaken up the nation’s corporate mobile fleets over the past four years.

When the iPhone was first introduced to Australia in July 2008, the majority of Australia’s large enterprises and small businesses were using either Research in Motion’s BlackBerry platform or Microsoft’s Windows Mobile alternative, with smartphones from rival vendors such as Nokia also taking a strong chunk of the market. However, in new research revealed today, analyst firm Telsyte noted that the landscape had shifted dramatically over the past few years.

“Australia’s business smartphone market has traditionally been dominated by RIM’s BlackBerry and Nokia’s Symbian-based devices, but in 2012 Apple iOS leads the charge with Android-based smartphones from Samsung and HTC also rising in popularity,” the firm said in a statement. “Both Apple’s and Google’s entrance in the smartphone market has paid off in the Australian business space with nearly 40 per cent of enterprises now citing the iPhone as their preferred brand of smartphone.”

Telsyte surveyed some 250 chief information officers and ICT decision-makers within Australian enterprises for the study.

Senior analyst Rodney Gedda said CIOs were committed to supporting a heterogeneous mobile operating system landscape, with Apple’s iOS top of the support intention scale and Android second. “Despite its low penetration right now, CIOs are also looking to support Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform which is set to provide an alternative to iOS and Android,” he said. “And with the release of Windows 8 nearing, businesses will have another mobile platform to choose from for smartphones and media tablets.”

“Even with the proliferation of more powerful smartphones in recent years, most Australian organisations (52 per cent) are still purchasing mobile handsets and services for people to use for work, with the remainder allowing BYOD,” Gedda added. “This has allowed more consumer-oriented devices like the iPhone and Android-based devices to garner a greater share of the business smartphone market.”

Over the past several months a number of major Australian enterprises have revealed a switch to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform running on Nokia’s Lumia range of handsets. In late June, for example, Australian iron ore group Fortescue metals declined to comment on an unverified rumour that the company has recently deployed over 600 new staff smartphones, allegedly swapping out its existing BlackBerry fleet in the latest corporate switch to Microsoft’s rival Windows Phone 7 ecosystem.

In late May, the Australian division of tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has also picked Nokia’s Windows Phone 7-based Lumia 800 smartphone as its platform of choice for its corporate smartphone fleet, and CommBank is similarly considering a move to the Nokia Lumia platform. Nokia has also revealed that construction firm Buildcorp has deployed some 150 new staff mobile phones in the Finnish smartphone vendor’s Lumia line.

However, despite the increasing penetration of smartphones into the enterprise, Telsyte found most organisations weren’t doing a good job of managing the devices. “… only about 10 per cent of enterprises [are] using dedicated [mobile device management] software to centrally manage mobile devices,” the organisation noted in its statement.

Gedda said both BlackBerry and Nokia Symbian devices had a history with MDM in business, but newer smartphones like the iPhone and handsets running Android and WP7 were ideal targets for cross-platform MDM delivered by in-house IT and service providers. “Implementing MDM to manage the device will allow businesses to maintain control of their data whether the smartphone is owned by the company or the individual,” Gedda says. “This is particularly relevant as more people bring their own device to the workplace.”

The most prevalent application used on the smartphones was email, alongside social media and traditional web browsing, but Gedda said there was potential for enterprise customer relationship management, business intelligence, vertical industry applications and other software to be used through smartphones as well.

And tablets are taking off as well — but again, RIM is missing out on the action.

“In addition to smartphones, the reception of non-Windows media tablets in business has been positive with 46 per cent of organisations allowing the use of business-supplied media tablets for work,” Telsyte noted. “Apple iPads (Wi-Fi & 3G) now make up 90 per cent of the business tablet market with the remainder made up of Android-based devices (Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom). The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is yet to make a significant impact with around 1 per cent of the market.”

Telsyte’s analysis appears spot on, to me, and gels with what I’m seeing in the wild. iOS has started to dominate the Australian enterprise (both with the iPhone and iPad), but organisations are not necessarily applying the best tools to manage their mobile fleets. BlackBerry is being shunted aside while more modern operating systems grab all the limelight.

Perhaps the only really surprising part in Telsyte’s analysis is its focus on Android. While I am sure Android use is rife within small business (as it is with consumers), I haven’t seen much of it being used officially within large enterprise. Instead, I am seeing strong interest and a number of rollouts of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform, which is perhaps more easily integrated with existing IT infrastructure than Android.

I haven’t yet heard of any major Australian organisations officially supporting Android smartphones in their operations. I’d love to hear of some rollouts in this area; drop me a line through Delimiter’s anonymous tips form if you know of any.


  1. RIM is not completely lost, they’re just behind.
    They still have a healthy 11% of the US market alone (compared to MS’s 4%), plus 1.6 B in cash…

    Also QNX is (at least technically) bloody amazing. They _could_ turn it around in a big way… Apple have done it, and they did it with 0% of the mobile market.

    • I think the difference between RIM and Apple in this situation is that Apple got ahead by leaping the current mobile phone technology and getting to the next stage. In comparison, RIM right now is merely trying to catch up. You don’t get ahead by catching up. You get ahead by forgetting the current and planning for the future. I don’t see any evidence that RIM is doing this.

      The company who is doing most in this area, apart from Apple, right now is Microsoft. They are really thinking out of the box with Windows 8, as they did with Windows Phone 7.

      • I partially disagree, Yes the next Device will be a catch up, but it’ll also be the solid footing for a massive leap ahead.
        QNX really is an impressive platform and if they can merge that with their near legendary status of a secure mobile low bandwidth platform they will have a really out side the box opportunity.

        They should also endeavour to hit the 4G market before it gets flooded with the cheap android and Kitchey iDevices.

        I’m inclined to agree with this article:

        Not so much in that they *dont* have a strategy, just that its skittish and has some massive weakness. (reliance on Nokia is a big one)

  2. Iphone = No licence to run email on the device. Better more desireable units. But at cost of poor security.
    Blackberry = License fees per unit to connect. Units seen as “old” and outdated. Better security.

    GFC = Cutting costs. Therefore BB lost out to the Iphone and to a lesser extent Android, that once the phone itself and plan etc was purchased, no extra licensing on top to maintain the BB service.

    • When using Exchange Activesync, you can lock down iPhones and Droids and impose pin codes, remote wipe etc etc (Android does let you lock it down even more than iOS tho eg disabling swipe pattern unlock, face unlock non Play software installs etc)

  3. I haven’t yet heard of any major Australian organisations officially supporting Android smartphones in their operations. I’d love to hear of some rollouts in this area; drop me a line through Delimiter’s anonymous tips form if you know of any.

    While not an “Australian company”, I work for HP ES and we are unfortunately a HTC Android / WinPhone company (ironic considering we used to make our own palm phones!).

    I disliked my 6months of Android so much (despite rooting it and installing much better ICS roms) that I went and bought my own iPhone 4s and put my company sim in that – frankly I found the Exchange Active sync left much to be desired! (very unreliable and had frequent mail and calender sync fails)

    • I use an ics android phone with the touchdown pro mail client on office 365 and it far exceeds the win7.5 offering. I can sync stuff the ms os can’t and it’s been super reliable.

      Unfortunately the client cost me $ 20 to get the super reliability and extra sync capabilities that ms can’t even provide…

  4. In my current workplace we’ve had years of Blackberry only. At it’s height deploying a new one every business day. Six months ago deployed iPad and iphone using an MDM solution.

    Interestingly the Blackberry has declined about 10% but iPad and iPhone is about 30% off being en par with BB numbers.

    The email, contacts and calendar sync with iOS is not as feature rich as the BB. iPad users often use OWA to do certain functions.

    Blackberry devices are cheaper than iPhones. The carrier plans are more expensive though about double. Ongoing costs are cheaper on BB as the MDM for iPhone is a recurring cost. If you use international roaming the BB is cheaper as it is built around Gprs

    • Going forward blackberry will no longer have those features and bb10 is in fact activesync based :-(

      QNX is amazing but it will not be enough to make up for the loss of the bes structure.

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