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IBM seeing growing enterprise demand for Windows Phone

Despite its steady rise in market share, and even surpassing Blackberry as the number three mobile ecosystem in the U.S., Windows Phone is still facing an uphill climb in the consumer smartphone arena. However, according to IBM, interest in Windows Phone is growing much faster amongst its enterprise customers than it is with consumers.

In an interview with RedmondMag, Jim Szafranski, senior VP of customer platform services at IBM's Fiberlink unit, said that many of his enterprise customers would prefer to use Windows Phone in their environments. The main reason, he says, is consistency. Microsoft dominates in the business infrastructure world, be it with Windows, Active Directory, Exchange, Dynamics, or Office.

Since Windows Phone integrates so seamlessly with its other Microsoft brethren, IT departments throughout the enterprise landscape would prefer to use that, rather than try to make the iOS and Android square pegs of the world fit the round hole that is Microsoft architecture.

"IT likes Microsoft and likes Windows. They've made a lot of investment in things like Active Directory and Exchange and as a result they have a lot of interest in seeing Windows Phone used by employees. I don't think anyone is going to be all Windows on mobile, but enterprises do want it and I think they have a strong opportunity when it comes to the enterprise side of purchase decisions," said Szafranski.

We’ve seen one such decision, with Delta Airlines rolling out Microsoft Surface 2 tablets to its flight crews to save fuel and Nokia Lumia 820 phones to its flight attendants for in-air purchases. They also recently upgraded many of those Lumia 820s to Lumia 1520s in order to better mesh with their Microsoft Dynamics retail purchasing system, increasing the functionality of their flight attendants.

In addition, Windows Phone supports enterprise-geared features, including secure boot protocols, data compartmentalization (aka, sandboxing) and data encryption. These are all necessary elements of one of the hottest trends in business IT, mobile device management (MDM). This is what IBM’s Fiberlink unit is dedicated to.

So while Windows Phone continues to lag well behind Apple and Android with everyday consumers, it has a real opportunity to catch on in the business world. Blackberry, once the go-to mobile business device, has all but disappeared, leaving room for a new standard to step in. And perhaps employees get fashioned with new Windows Phones and decide they actually like them, leading them to consider them for personal use as well.

Sure, it’s not going to happen overnight, or maybe at all, but the possibility is there. Microsoft just needs to continue to seize the opportunity.

Source: RedmondMag; Via: TechRadar

113 Comments
  • Bussines is the way to go for WP, it's the safest platform out there, choosing android with lots of loopholes is just a no-brainer
  • Yeah and providing employees such phones will be worth as blackberry used to do with the corporate world earlier.
  • Blackberry is still the best business phone. MSFT should just buy Blackberry and be done with it. WP8 for consumer BB for busienss.
  • Am curious, what makes BB today still the best for business?
  • safest? let me tell you a fact. Business apps look at cost of development. You develop for iPhone and you get all the C executives, because they are all in the ipad/iphone world. That is SAFE. You cannot get it wrong. Then if you're a bit more risky, you go android, to get al the large customers that buy devices for their sales guys, etc, they won't buy the ipad but they will buy the cheap device. That is SAFE. So safety as in security and safety of investment are different and business look at both. But as of now the secuirty of WP cannot offset the business risk. They expect a ROI and WP just wan't deliver it. I've argued for it and basically was told by the big C that MSFT is dead to us unless they can prove customers still care.
  • What a hell are you smoking? The fact that WP integrated seamlessly with already existing infrastructure in enterprise ensures a better ROI than developing for ios or android. Microsoft I'm sure would even be more than willing to make those so called "expensive" business apps themselves, or at least to give an incentive. Your argument does not hold water.
  • do they? because WP certainly doesn't seamlessly integrate with existing windows infrastructure or they wouldn't be rushing, in 2014 to try to improve it. The fact they are catching up after 3 years of lag proves you wrong buddy.
  • Aren't all companies trying to improve their products though? That's not really a valid argument imo. Regardless, I'd be more willing to take ibm's word on it anyway.
  • Cheap Android? Are you implying on those Chinese Android devices? I don't see any security in there. Lots of Chinese devices broke down easily (touch screen, power, connection malfunction to name it). There will be high cost to repair it. And if we put them for sales person, the more chance for it to broke down. Specially if these sales were mobile (moving here and there, at fast pace). But this 520 I held, is still working fine even if I do the same habit with those so called sales persons. And it cost around USD 100 too. Quite cheap enough, but stand the quality of Nokia devices. So which part is it that makes Android safest for sales?
  • you realize surface pro is made in china, as it is your xbox. So please, most mobile devices are chinese if they aren't korean. Android is really really cost effective for the enterprise and offers a huge range of choices. It is not to say WP doesn't have some choices, but I can probably recite every WP device on sale right now. Such a feat, is impossible with android and given how IT likes to shop for price and features, it puts WP at a dissadvantage. I'm hoping the rumors of being able to flash WP to any android device are true. Otherwise with basically MSFT making 90% of the WP hardware, choices will be severely restricted.
  • Android is no cheaper than Windows Tablets or Phones my friend. Android is a "no no" when it comes to most corps due to the amount of Malware in the Play store and lack of Android offical MDM APIs. Fragmentation is another big issue. Android is totally where the risk is. That leaves iOS and Windows Phone. iPhones are too expensive per unit. Windows Phone is "perfect" in cost terms, and safety terms. The risk being app availability and waiting for 8.1 for the fully fledged MDM API set (VPN etc). Once WP gets all apps, it will win most corporate bake offs easily.
  • I'm not sure where your "no no" comes from but that's definitively not the trend. You know what else has a ton of malware? yes windows. Did that stop the enterprise? no. So if youre counting on malware to save windows phone, well I would suggest you don't look at windows itself. Even if WP had such value proposition as you suggest, app developers don't make apps for platforms with little marketshare. The chicken/egg problem MSFT faces hasn't been fixed yet. Until then, WP's added value is hugely offset in the negative by its basic flaw: effectively 95%+ of the market doesn't use it.
  • You seem to think you know more about this than the guys at IBM whose business this is and they are the complete opposite to your basement opinion. Windows phone is being used by more and more people every day, it is a known fact that iPhone users are just waiting for their contracts to end to try it out, and most that have tried it out say they will never return to the IOS environment, for any reasons, not least of all because the access is not there for businesses. Windows phone is growing and growing fast and almost everyone who gets there hands on a windows 8 phone keeps them.That is why most people with the knowledge of the industry behnd them predict the windows phones will be competing with Android and Android alone.
  • Agreed, all the execs at my company are using iPhones.
  • Android is not great to manage with all those different UIs. One would have to write multiple guides for the users to do simple thing like setting up Exchange email, since all the Android phones have different UI from different OEMs. It's just a mess.
  • I can tell you for a fact it isn't. The mail app works quite well and basically when the enterprise buys the device for you, they don't buy an assorted bag. They buy 1000 identical phones and just make a single guide for them. for BYO, they just document the most popular apps and handle the rest in a case by case basis.  
  • IT Managers do prefer WP for the following reasons: http://conversations.nokia.com/2014/02/06/5-reasons-managers-love-windows-phone-8/ Besides, the app statistics advantage of IOS/Android doesn't mean much in the enterprise world.  The abundant apps of IOS/Android are mostly in the gaming and entertainment categories.  The enterprises don't necessarily think that is an advantage.  They want their employees come to work and not to play.
  • really? you're quoting nokia? That's like quoting the republican party on climate change evidence.
  • Still not seeing any sources or arguments from credible parties from you. I think you might have an argument to make, but your words can't really speak on their own. Calling something a fact doesn't exactly make it so.
  • Первы!
  • научись счетать и печатать 
  • Dumb Russian, can't even count to two
  • natural-born computer scientists? (binary counter)
  • No idea what you said
    #LOL #MuchosSwaggos
  • @Jaskys uneducated fat American, how do you like insults? Stfu and take your racial slurs elsewhere. At the very least learn a second language.
  • First im not American, neither im fat I couldn't give less fucks about insults, i hate stupidity, not races or nationalities. I know Russian/English/Baltic languages, get on my level please.
  • Police is here! Offensive comments blocked, have nice day!
  • NO, THAT WASN'T ME, I SWEAR
  • バカに, не пизди...
  • Why am I not able to post comment in Russian language and it is automatically market as a spam?
    I just wanted to say "No" ;-)
  • I think this epitomizes a glaring problem with the Internet. The lack of real time automatic translation. Imagine what a push Windows and WP would get if your device automatically detected a foreign language and translated it for you on the page as you went. We might even understand each other despite linguistic differences.
  • ^you my friend are onto somthing big!
  • +2520
  • No thanks, I'd rather dirty Russians remain behind their incomprehensible alphabet.
  • Dumb retard. Russians are far more intelligent, on average, than americans so keep your mouth shut.
  • Well, your comment just proved your statement... :D
  • Is there anything further on improving mail and calendar for 8.1? Still so much needed to meet enterprise level support.
  • This.
  • Check out our 8.1 feature list. http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-features
  • Getting better, yeah VPN!!, but still missing critical pieces to me. Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of these as I'm not sure if any of this was due to exchange server version or admin restrictions: Calender search, easily adding resources to appointments, meeting creation flow in general, proper form support, exchange notes, email follow up flags, calendar task for follow up of email, office document support still needs work (CSV file reading anyone), mark all as read from a folder, filter rule administration, etc. Users want a portable Outlook. IF exchange web portal is better than your own phone platform you have work to do. Lets not even talk about Lync and Sharepoint support. Also now that I'm using google mail at work (yuck) through exchang sync its even worse.
  • Activesync is the superior mail sync protocol. Activesync > IMAP + CALDAV  
  • ActiveSync only gets you so far. Love that you can use it for Outlook 2013 RT and get a full desktop experience but ActiveSync on windows phone is still only as good as the mail client which is missing all the fun stuff I listed above. At least should be as good as BlackBerry with EIS.
  • Markwitha-c, i'm 100% with you! My WM6.5 used to sync pretty well with Exchange. I was using my device as a GTD assistant. Now i have a lumia 800 with Wp7.8 and I will upgrade to wp8 only when they will fix calendar, tasks and email sync. Because as it is today it's worthless.
  • @markwitha_c DITTO! what I would like to know is that for all the leaks about WP8.1, not much has been shared about any improvements to office. while I would like to tout office as being the advantage over other mobile OS, the current version of Excel is nothing to brag about. Can't insert/delete rows or highight/block cells for copying and pasting? even windows mobile 6.x version of Excel allowed this.I think presenting Excel in its present state to Enterprise would result in a disappointing user experience.
  • They definitely are. In the meantime buy chronos calendar. PHENOMENAL
  • So wonderful, yet nearly pointless till you can create new appointments with it.
  • yes. the WP mail app is fine but it is stuck basicaly in 2011 when it launched. it still doesn't even support color coded tags, gestures to delete, and all the fun features outlook.com does. It was a fine mail client but has basically languished the way IE did for years before MSFT gave a cent again. Calendar is off course USELESS on wp. The update brings it to the level it should have been on launch...but compare that to the google offering and even apple's and you can easily tell 8.1 is taking it from mediocre, to defficient.
  • Have always said that THIS is the battlefield on which Windows Phone can win the war. Inside-out approach here, outside-in with XBOX among the younger set... Tomorrow's business set. Slow and steady wins the race.
  • With 8.1 it'll get even more attractive for businesses. WP paired with Intune is pretty solid today with 7.8 and 8. We use it, and have a group of custom business apps for our field sales people in our WP company store hosted on Azure and Intune. Now I just need a Lync client that I can see powerpoints!!
  • Biggest drawback for me is lack of VPN support.  Waiting for 8.1 to see this before making commitment.
  • VPN has been confirmed for 8.1 for awhile now http://m.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-features
  • Cool. Windows Phone would start getting more business apps.
  • as a mobile development head, I can tell you that we target iOS and Android not because of things either company does but because that is what consumers buy. Do you want business apps? get consumers to buy the devices first. We cannot justify the cost of development for an app nobody is asking for. If MSFT could deliver 20% marketshare this year (yeah right) I could argue for WP business development.
  • If the company employs BYOD, then yes. Microsoft should target the consumers first. But if it's company policy, why would the company ask their employee about what device the company will using? Just decide what device they want to use and develop for it. All employees will use it anyway. (-_-)a
  • The trend is towards BYOD not away from it. And when your two main competitors have both marketshare and basically a more effecitve BYOD strategy, you can see how MSFT cannot ignore BYOD. Regardless, everything can be forgiven if you have marketshare. We technically don't like android because of all the flux in the hardware and the experience. But marketshare talks, and when you customer makes a case for the market leader, it is downright impossible to argue against it. In particular, if the competition has embraced it. I'd LOVE to support WP and Win8. But MSFT is making it downright impossible with their mediocre marketshare numbers. I'm sure many IT and Dev leads feel the same way, and we're really powerless to change this. There is only so much you can preach to the suits about the benefits of an all-MSFT stack when somebody brings an iOS device that works better with the backend systems because WP is so freaking enterprise bland.
  • WP hitting 20% across Europe is possible by end of 2014. No chance in America, they just haven't taken to WP. (Weirdos ;) )
  • some markets maybe. our european market is heavily android dominated while the US is mostly iOS but shifting to android. I suppose italy is a really weird example of windows phone achieving some respect. unfortunately itally isn't enough.
  • Your inflated ego notwithstanding, WP does not need your services to argue in its behalf but thank you anyway, you can now go back to whatever hole you crawled out from.
  • I work in a hotel and i met a businessman using a nokia 925 and he mentioned how easy and simple it is to use he said also that he got his wife a lumia aswell
  • 8.1 may give us more things than the feature list given to us. I think they are going to announce many things for wp
  • His is great news, but the biggest problem I have found with adoption is education. When new people try WP, they try to use it like they would IOS or Android, so they don't make use of live tiles or deep pinning, or contact groups, and don't really take full advantage of SkyDrive and how it integrates into desktop so well. So they say it 'sucks' and give up without really ever truly experiencing it. They need serious tutorials for positive responses to WP adoption. Hopefully they realize this...
  • Yes, this is something I noticed on Windows 8 as well, perhaps having better tutorials would have reduced the amount of hate it got at the beggining.
  • People don't like learning new things unless its on the job. Most people get their first hands on at work and then get it at home. IT has stayed away from win8 because the aesthetics while beautiful, seem to lean towards fun rather than work. Microsoft should explore win7 based skin on win8 just for enterprise. Store apps will never be used in enterprise anyways. The improvements under the hood are phenomenal in win8
  • Agreed on store apps wont be that useful on enterprise realm. Unless it's the company's apps. Specially since Windows 8 Enterprise using controlled update. My workstation still using Windows 8 (not 8.1) since the administrator decide not to enroll the update until all development environment is fully tested (which I don't know when. They don't even start the test yet).
  • My frist reaction is that when somethings go to the buisness side of things they'll start lacking on the consumer side. Is this right to think or is there no corelation?
  • I think they got 90% of the consumer stuff done. Now time to fill in enterprise.
  • oh come on! 90% done? I know it is a number you threw in but realistically, I can't say WP as a platform is 90% as consumer rich as iOS or android. Even if I agreed with it, I'm not sure MSFT can ever convice people of this fact without a major major overhaull to the OS to basically make it look fresh and new to all that rejected WP...which is basically about 90% of the market.
  • Well, if Daniel is talking about 8.1, then it should be enough for 90%. What did consumer need that specially the most used features on Android and iOS, which does not covered in 8.1?
  • Let's assume this is true, just for fun, and WP has achieve parity both feature and app wise. Why are they basically stuck in sigle digits global marke share, and possible lower usage share? Based on what people actually end up buying, consumers just don't want the product even after massive marketing campaigns. It used to be that people believed bad training from the reps was the cause, MSFT fixed that and made no difference. Then it was all about marketing. We're on what, the 3rd campaign now? Then it was about exclusive devices, and when nokia came in, this was it!...then it wasn't. I think at some point we have to accept, WP just isn't good in the eyes of consumers and needs a major overhaul to change its image. If it was, why is it basically not selling since it is 90% as good. Maybe 90% as good isn't good enough. After all, if you're asking somebody to take a risk and migrate, you have to be 150% as good. Like apple did with BB, and how google basically out-featured iOS. WP's strategy of being just barrely as functional...is having barrely good results.
  • Your agreement is not required - get that through your ego-inflated brain matter! WP8.1 will succeed by itself without you!
  • Hopefully Microsofts awareness of their necessary success in the consumer space as evidenced by thier marketing and search for a new ad company with a broad comprehensive ad campaign that incorporates all thier products(WPCentral did a story on this) is evidence that they are all in on all fronts enterprise and consumer.
  • The line between business and consumer is blurring lately. In the end, businesses are made of employees which are consumers. The difference is usually specific features which are certainly not exclusive to each other. Security, VPN, Email client, etc can go hand in hand with Netflix, Facebook, Music, etc. Siloed apps really removes any concerns with mixing the two that existed in the past. I think Microsoft is in the best position to embrace this new reality. But they really need to do a better job of execution. They dumbed down Windows RT too much and missed the opportunity to completely shut out the iPad un enterprise.
  • Microsoft means pure business no bullshit like others.
  • I agree with you on RT.  I was so disappointed it didn't include Bitlocker and Active Directory support.  Also not having a touch version of Office out the box was a complete let down.
  • I'm all Windows on mobile. I guess I'm invisible.
  • Who said that?
  • True! But actually Open source(Android) is good because it allows companies like Samsung to modify and create their own software UI and more. Security must be focus more on Android softwares. (Still Samsung is bad at designing phones) LG is better lol! WP8 OS is a nice clean UI, faster and easy access. Bet the coming WP8.1 OS is gonna be great for business and personal use. Actually I do a lot of my work using my Lumia 920. Just that VPN and sometimes sensitivity problems. Got all the app I need for work. Now just need a bigger screen, update OS and better hardwares on a phone. Hope companies like Nokia and HTC have done their homework and ready for the new features on 8.1. Can't wait for new phones to be announced ^_^
  • No $#!7, though it is interesting coming from Big Blue.
  • That's great news. I remember years ago when business people, were the only people using "wackberry's", then consumers followed... Lets hope history repeats itself. However, Microsoft need to get their shit together with Skype on WP8 though ;-)
  • I wish Microsoft would improve Tasks in Outlook to make it truly useful to business and we need a serious "Contact" Relationship Manager for marketing. Either extend Business Contact Manager to the cloud and Windows Phones or give sole proprietors / small businesses a Dynamics CRM solution.
  • I have something for you, "moon on a stick". I will let you have it for nothing, with free lifetime support. I know you are a small business, so I will even throw in my wife. 
  • I can already see WPCentral getting more popular among online news readers. The same goes for Windows Phone.
  • Take heed, Microsoft!
  • Problem is they are putting office on apple and android.....i think they have to so it doesn't die out....but windows phone is catching the eyes of everyday consumers as well....they will need to keep it going with new hardware designs and stop playing catch up with software of windows phone
  • they do this because it is their policy. Microsoft has to support a platform if it has more than 10 million customers  
  • I can assure you, that decision to put Office on iPad has nowt to do with policy.
  • Even if they take the top, which will be very very difficult, the other companies would just start crying "monopoly" on them again.
  • google cries monopoly every time it can anyway.
  • yeah, that's how they trumped down the iPhone to only 19% share worldwide.
  • Very few Companies still give Employees smartphones, so really this means fairly little, unless corporate IT Depts. start fully supporting Windows Phone as their 'native' device and start charging iPhone and Android toting employees for the cost of supporting their 'non-native' devices. My Wife's Employer only supports iPhones, forcing her to shift from WinMo to the FruitPhone in order to access company email. This sort of thing cost Employers a boatload of money, but they absorb it whereas they won't absorb the cost of giving away phones.
  • basically. What I've observed is the executives all all fruit phone and then the workerbees run a mix of android (young folks) and iOS (older folk). I have seen ONE windows phone other than mine. But he likes the MS ecosystem. Outside of work, I saw a nurse with a WP at the hospital, while holding her ipad for the corporate app. MS is really falling behind the enterprise I tell you. You cannot go to a place where they used to haul laptops around that they aren't carrying ipads and droid pads. they have to wake up.
  • waiting for the VPN so that i would be able to check my running jobs at work place on my Lumia phone
  • What Microsoft needs to do and the strategy they need to employ is to sell the surface pro 2 for about $500. This would be at great loss in the short term but long term it would get everyone onboard in there ecosystem. If Microsoft wants to succeed that's what they need to do its a gamble and they certainly have the money to take that initial hit. Being they came in so late in the tablet market. Think big get big results think small get small results. Same principle with the Xbox one they should have dropped the price to 399 in the long run people would use the Xbox one to watch videos, Netflix, down load games where they definitely would recoup there loss.
  • This is just unrealistic. You can't sell at that big of a loss, and microsoft doesn't need a loss leader for a Windows 8 Pro device. Maybe for RT, but there's no reason to do so for the surface pro, other than people being jealous that they can't have one :P Personally, I'm saving up for a SP3. I skipped the pro 2 generation and ill grab a third gen when it's out!
  • I believe there is a larger strategy at play here. Microsoft sure knows how to come out on top I have sincere beliefe in them that their long game will put them ahead of the game when the smartphone frenzy dies down 30-40 years from now! Look how they came ahead with Windows while Macs are so scarce!
  • This is great news for Calendar Calleague.... more enterprise users means more users will need to dial in to conference calls ;)
  • I'm afraid that one day there will be more windowsphone visible out there, my UNIQUENESS will all of a sudden disappear..im afraid that I will have to look for another OS that is different from the others,kinda like at work everybody have iPhones and Samsung,then here I am rocking on the biggest,beautiful 1520..what can I say.. I'm different..
    In the future it will be the opposite..there will be more windowsphone than apple,and android, we all know what happen to the cycle of mobile operating system..it happen before and will continue to happen again..all number 1 always goes down..
  • yeah well that's not what I'm seeing. Out of all the development our company has done 100% has been on iOS and android and there is some windows 8 interest after a customer with 250 sales reps considered replacing all their laptops with tablets but they had to run some old school corporate app (not ours). This is the first time we get asked about windows, everybody is iOS and Android, and windows is a bad word. Windows phone? PFFFFF I think I will have retired if that ever happens...and moved to italy where it is apparently somewhat popular. So I dont' know what kind of demand they are seeing but if anybody is asking for WP, then why is windows 8 so far failed at crossing 2% tablet marketshare?
  • 250 sales rep?!! LOL yeah right, your company is obviously small-time with only 2 sales rep /s But more probably you're unemployed.
  • nah, we're multi-national and I'm doing just fine :)
  • Go Big Blue :D
  • Am I crazy to think Microsoft should bundle Xbox One and Windows Phone? Maybe offer a voucher for a Lumia 510(more low end phones) with the Xbox console, Show the integration? There's a lot of Xbox fans out there! Just an idea! (Lumia 822 owner!)
  • Where my wife works (a large financial services company) they are in the process of switching from company provided devices (Blackberry) to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) structure and doing whatever IT stuff to those personal phones to make them compatable with the companies internal network.  The goofy thing is they won't support Windows Phone.  I think their IT department lives in a box and is ignorant to WP.
  • Can WP have a physical keyboard phone for the business crowd? I want to go for a WP soon as I love my Windows 8.1, but I need the physical keyboard in a phone, so I just ended up going for a Blackberry Q10.
  • I wonder when IBM will start supporting Windows Phone to access emails within IBM.
  • And the growth is...? 0.3%?
  • I love to buy an updated GSM unlocked 920 that can be used on T-Mobile LTE!  Just take all the Icon and put it into the 930 model.  Make sure it runs on all the GSM networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, etc... a Windows (iPhone/Nexus type broadband spectrum) device.
  • You work for s dumb company then. One question: what OS does the computers at you company run? If they do, then Microsoft is alive and well per the OS on its own internal systems.
  • Well continue using your Google docs if you like it better
  • You seem to be anti-WP, so why are you here? WP still isn't as mature as iOS or Android, so people should expect some shortcomings.
  • Don't forget schools. I've seen kids bring android tablets or ipads, but they're useless. I get more productivity with my surf 2
  • Don't forget schools. I've seen kids bring android tablets or ipads, but they're useless. I get more productivity with my surf 2
  • That's my phone in the pic :) and I love it!!!