Apple to be at Core of Corporate Tablet Market
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In the battle for the consumer market in tablet PCs there seems to be a clear winner so far – the iPad from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). The latest figures from research firm IDC for 2012 show that Apple's worldwide market share grew from 54.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 68 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Samsung was second and Amazon was third.
But it is still anybody's game in the corporate market for tablet PCs, although Apple is leading. A survey earlier this year by NPD In-Stat found that 68 percent of tablets provided by companies to their employees were iPads. Then there is the whole BYOD phenomena. More and more corporations are allowing their employees to bring their own device to work, adding even more growth in this sector.
Companies are doing so because, once security issues are addressed, BYOD projects result in increased employee satisfaction, greater worker flexibility and significant cost savings. Take Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS), the cloud networking and visualization technologies company, for example. Just three years after launching a limited BYOD program, it has already met the 20 percent cost savings goal it initially set thanks to a large drop in desktop PC support requests.
The other major players in this market include tablets based on either the Android operating system from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) or ones based on Windows from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Google's Android does lead Apple in sheer numbers in the smartphone sector but that success has not translated to tablets. Its growth seems to be hindered by security concerns (very important to corporations) over a lack of control over the download of apps. Meanwhile Microsoft is being held back by the fact that many employers are awaiting the release of the new Windows 8 later this year as to whether to allow employees' Windows devices.
This is a fast growth market for the telecommunications companies. In fact, AT&T (NYSE: T) recently said that over the past year it has seen “an explosion in use” of tablet PCs by corporations. The company reported that the number of companies using tablets grew by 194 percent in the first quarter of 2012 versus the same year-ago period. It added that more than 27,000 business customers have adopted mobile device management deals with the company.
AT&T and its main rival, Verizon Communications both view the trend among companies to mobilize their business operations as a significant opportunity to add a large amount of revenue to their bottom line. Both firms have invested heavily into mobile app development and services that target business customers. AT&T says that 50 percent of Mobile Enterprise Applications Platform customers purchase additional software or services from the company, justifying the investment into these apps.
Investors can be assured that this macro trend of companies adopting BYOD will only continue in the future. This is probably good news for Apple, although rivals are still nipping at its heels. But for certain, this trend will turn into a major cash generator for the large telecommunications companies as they offer to manage BYOD programs for their customers.
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