Why developers believe iOS and Android will rule the enterprise

Jason Ankenyeditor's corner

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system closed out June 2011 controlling 40.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, up 2.0 percentage points month-over-month and increasing 5.4 percentage points since March 2011, research firm comScore reported last week. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS was the only other mobile platform to grow its market share during the period, increasing 1.1 percentage points over March to capture 26.6 percent of the U.S. smartphone segment. The news is grim for the rest of the pack: Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry continues to fade, dropping another 3.7 percentage points to make up 23.4 percent of the market, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone fell from 7.5 percent in March to 5.8 percent in June (a 1.7 percentage point drop) and Symbian slipped from 2.3 percent to 2.0 percent.

With Android and iOS jointly making up two-thirds of the addressable U.S. smartphone market, mobile application developers have virtually abandoned BlackBerry: Just 28 percent of coders responding to Appcelerator and IDC's new Q3 Mobile Developer Report remain "very interested" in building apps for BlackBerry smartphones, far behind iPhone (90 percent), iPad (88 percent), Android (87 percent) and HTML5 (66 percent). Enthusiasm for BlackBerry even trails developer interest in Windows Phone (30 percent). In fact, developers are so pessimistic about BlackBerry's future that only 4 percent believe the RIM platform can still win the battle for enterprise supremacy. Not only do developers expect Android and iOS will extend their dominance from the consumer segment to the enterprise space, but they believe the race for the prize is a dead heat, with 44 percent wagering their bets on Android and another 44 percent going in on iOS. A mere 7 percent of developers believe Windows Phone will take the enterprise crown, with 2 percent betting on HP's webOS.

Although developers agree Android and iOS are on the odds-on favorites to win the enterprise, they disagree sharply on why. Appcelerator and IDC posed different reasons why each platform might come out and top, asking developers to rank the accuracy of the statements across all operating systems--30 percent of respondents cite Android's market share lead as the force that will lead it to enterprise dominance, while 24 percent say Apple's consumerization of the user experience will result in iOS claiming victory with the professional demographic. Only 2 percent say BlackBerry's installed enterprise base is a competitive edge, and just 6 percent believe Microsoft's software advantage and possibilities for natural enterprise integration will drive Windows Phone adoption. In the end, enterprises may simply gravitate to the platform with the most compelling and innovative business apps--and as long as iOS retains the edge in developer mindshare, that means it's still the favorite to win most battles, market share notwithstanding. -Jason