Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer, and almost all of us will participate in some form of cookout in the coming months. Many of these gatherings will be BYOB, or Bring Your Own Beer. I like the policy, as it guarantees I'll be drinking the stuff I love and won't be caught scouring the back of my neighbor's fridge for a tasteless, low-calorie brew.
Lately, many enterprise IT departments have taken a page out of the summer-cookout rulebook by adopting BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device -- policies allowing employees to conduct company business on their personal mobile devices. Unfortunately for Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) , the BlackBerry is sitting in the fridge, while most employees are bringing an ice-cold version of the latest Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) or Google Android microbrew to work.
Enterprise is only one piece of the puzzle, but it has contributed to BlackBerry's continued market-share losses. IDC's first-quarter data showed shipments of BlackBerry devices down nearly 30% in the period, while Android devices and iPhones experienced growth of 145% and 89%, respectively.
At one point, BlackBerry devices dominated the enterprise market because of their ironclad security features unmatched by other providers. The gap has shrunk, but with the rise of BYOD we're still seeing more glass bottles at the party versus RIM's more resilient aluminum cans. This means additional security investments are needed to avoid shattering secure IT environments. Those requirements can largely offset any cost savings from not having to purchase devices, but the increased productivity and improved employee morale that results has driven companies such as Western Union, IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , and Colgate-Palmolive to hop on board.
One example of the lengths to which companies go to protect themselves is IBM's decision requiring employees using iPhones to disable the Siri application, in fear that their queries would be stored somewhere and compromise proprietary company information. The company also requires that employees allow their phones to be configured in a way that lets the phone's memory be erased remotely. In short, it's the IBM equivalent of requiring the use of an enterprise-approved Koozie.
While BYOD is hurting RIM in the enterprise, it's driving robust growth in the WLAN (wireless local area network) market, with IDC reporting 27% annual growth for WLAN vendors in the first quarter of 2012. The growth in enterprise mobility drove Aruba Networks (Nasdaq: ARUN ) to 43% growth in the segment, while juggernaut Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) grew 27%, generating $414 million in WLAN revenue and expanding its global market share to 52.4%.
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