Although personal computers running Microsoft's suite of products are still the predominant computing equipment in business, there's been a definite trend toward mobile devices and personalization as the bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, movement continues. The trend has been good for smartphone vendor Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), as its initially consumer-focused smartphones and tablets have worked their way into the enterprise.
Last month, secure mobility firm Good Technology confirmed Apple's strong performance in the enterprise with its Q2 Mobility Index Report. When it comes to total activations, Apple's iOS reported 64% of all enterprise-related activations where Android's market share climbed to 32%. In tablets, a key battleground in the enterprise-related battle, Apple again reported 64% of all activations.
However, even with 64%, Apple's once-dominant lead has slipped a little bit. In last year's corresponding quarter, total activations came in at 67% for Apple and climbed as high as 72% in Q1 2015. For tablets, the drop is even more stark: Last year, Apple had 90% of all tablet activations as the device continues its struggles amid a slowing market. Apple's not resting on its laurels, however, and is looking to partner with Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) to boost its standing in the enterprise.
Let's work better together
On Aug. 31, Apple and Cisco unveiled a partnership between iOS devices and Cisco's network routing equipment. In a jointly released press release, CEO Tim Cook and Cisco Chairman John Chambers announced the creation of a "fast lane" for iOS users through optimized Cisco networks. In further comments to The Wall Street Journal, the two tech titans built upon the fast lane definition by saying it would prioritize wireless connection of business-critical functions over superfluous web browsing.
In addition, the companies are working to combine address and contact info between mobile devices and desk phones. According to The Journal, Cook remarked, "[i]ntegrating such directories is a goal of the partnership." And while specifics like what applications will be involved were not disclosed, there are numerous applications that have overlapping function, like Apple's FaceTime is a consumer-focused one-on-one version of Cisco's WebEx online-meeting technology.
Apple still has IBM
For Apple, this is another partnership to bolster its presence in the enterprise. Last year Apple partnered with IBM for enterprise-related business apps and services with their joint IBM Mobile First initiative. To date, the joint venture has produced over 20 business-specific apps in a host of industries, including banking and financial markets, healthcare, government, and insurance. Perhaps the biggest initiative berthed by Apple's IBM partnership was its deal with Japan Post (subscription required) to provide iPads for senior citizens to ensure their well-being, remind them to take medication, and assist with critical needs.
For Apple, both the IBM and Cisco partnerships are ways to continue to shape the enterprise where buying decisions are often made on the basis of how the device fits with existing technology. If Apple's iPads and iPhones can boast business-focused applications and work with existing technologies, the devices become even more desirable. Look for Apple to continue to work with partners to defend its mobile-enterprise market share.