Android Struggles in the Enterprise

Carl Weinschenk
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The strength of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend - which is on its way to becoming the dominant way in which corporations work - guarantees that Android will have a substantial presence in the enterprise. The other side of the coin, however, is how deeply organizations empower various operating systems when they actually have the say-so.


In other words, will organizations use Android when they don't have to? The answer seems to be a qualified "no." Computerworld's story on a Gartner survey of mobile device management (MDM) vendors reports that 58 percent now use or plan within the next year to introduce Apple iOS as their primary platform. Twenty percent are doing the same for BlackBerry and only 9 percent will for Android.


The bottom line is that Android is 11 percent behind BlackBerry, which has been essentially a telecommunications piata for the past couple of years.The survey is essentially about MDM, which is a key tool in any enterprise mobility strategy. The bottom line is that Android is not cooperating with these companies:

A big part of the reason why it's difficult to manage Android systems, Gartner said, is that Google hasn't opened many application programming interfaces (API) to the dozens of MDM vendors, which means they can't connect their management tools to Android. In Android 4.0, Google only provided 16 APIs, compared to more than 500 APIs for the latest version of BlackBerry.

Todd Hixson, a blogger/columnist for Forbes, mentions the troubles of Android in the enterprise in a piece that focuses on the future of the Android tablet:

I'm disappointed that Android tablets are not having more success in the enterprise. I expected that the highly functional and open Android OS would attract developers to build enterprise applications. This has not happened yet, and Apple has done a great job in this segment.

He may have a different take on Android smartphones, but tablets are a big part of the game in any case. Brad Moon at InvestorPlace sums up the Android fragmentation issue quite nicely. The bottom line is that complexity is anathema to IT departments, and there just are too many versions of Android in the field.


It remains to be seen if recent moves by Google will have a positive influence. These include the purchase of Motorola Mobility - which closed this week - and closer relationships with some vendors. At this point, however, it is safe to say that Apple is winning in the enterprise.

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