If you follow the greater smartphone market, you're well-aware of the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS versus Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system battle. Worldwide, Google's still commands a larger subscriber base, as its open-source Android is used by more smartphone vendors, while Apple's closed OS generally gets higher marks for its user-focused ecosystem.
When it comes to operating systems, the old maxim "there's strength in numbers" hasn't applied. Although Apple's iOS has fewer subscribers, developers have generally released new apps and updates to iOS before Android. A combination of greater app spending by iOS subscribers and a fractured Android market had, historically, made iOS development a stronger value proposition.
Recently, however, mobile-Internet advisor Opera Mediaworks found Android passed iOS for global mobile ad-based revenue in the first quarter -- and that's on the heels of a Digi-Capital report that Android made more money in 2014 (including China’s Android Open Source Project revenue).
Despite all that, there's still decidedly a segment in which Apple's iOS dominates Google's Android: the enterprise.
Good Technology's Mobility Index Report
Mobile security company Good Technology's 2015 first-quarter Mobility Index Report is great news for Apple. The report, which leverages Good Technology's existing relationships with over 6,200 organizations, has become a useful proxy for the greater enterprise (read: business) mobile market. And among the business set, Apple dominated total first-quarter activations with a 72% market share versus Android's 26%. Although Apple did lose 1 percentage point to Android over the past year, the company still commands enterprise activations.
As far as tablets are concerned, Apple's iPad performance was a mixed bag. On one hand, its dominance among the business crowd continues: Its first-quarter tablet market share of 81% was higher than Apple's overall total activation percentage. On the other, its market share fell from 92% in last year's corresponding quarter as Android grew to 15% of the tablet market. Recently, Apple partnered with IBM for enterprise-specific mobile apps, and I expect the success or failure of this partnership to be reflected in Apple's enterprise-based tablet market share going forward.
Enterprise growth is strong
For operating systems, the enterprise market appears to be a growth area. Good Technology reported that overall enterprise app activations during the quarter increased 28% sequentially and 48% on a year-over-year basis. And as operating systems are working with developers to develop custom apps and secure messaging solutions, it appears this industry will only continue to grow. As such, you can expect more intense competition for enterprise users going forward.
Apple's partnership with IBM is perhaps its strongest play for enterprise-specific clientele. Late last year, Apple announced 10 enterprise-focused apps. More recently, the partnership announced a deal to give 5 million iPads to seniors in Japan to help them manage their healthcare.
It appears Google's enterprise-specific moves aren't as direct as Apple's, but the newest iteration of Android -- Lollipop -- brings many enterprise-friendly updates. In addition, Android vendor Samsung is rumored to be producing a dual-sim Galaxy S6 handset that would be enterprise-friendly.
That said, Apple continues to dominate this space, and its shareholders should be encouraged by its strong performance in the enterprise.