Google vs. Microsoft - Android for Work heats up battle for enterprise supremacy

As market competition heats up, it appears Google strives to have every Microsoft move covered…

Workplace mobility initiatives are extending beyond the white-collar worker to encompass an ever-increasing range of employee roles and business activities.

That’s the view of industry analyst firm Ovum, which believes android devices, especially smartphones, currently dominate the consumer-owned market, while Apple iOS devices continue to grow in popularity among tech-savvy BYODers.

However, Microsoft still maintains market share and mind share in the world of company-owned devices, especially where laptop computers are concerned.

As a result, Richard Edwards, research analyst, Ovum, believes Redmond is “trying hard” to leverage this position in the hope that the business bulk purchases of commodity devices will give it one last chance of securing a meaningful spot in the lucrative and strategically important mobile market.

But as market competition heats up, it appears Google strives to have every Microsoft move covered.

“Microsoft’s somewhat minimal participation at Mobile World Congress 2015 reflected the position of the vendor in a world that is currently dominated by Android and Apple iOS devices,” Edwards observes.

“But appearing relatively unperturbed and none too disheartened by recent market figures (which suggest that Windows Phone global market share is now below 5%), Microsoft executives took to the stage to buoy up the forthcoming release of Windows 10 and highlight the unique value proposition that the company is able to offer businesses and institutions as they build out their enterprise mobility strategies.”

Taken at face value, Edwards believes the combination of Office 365 (Microsoft’s cloud-based business collaboration and productivity platform) and Intune (Microsoft’s cloud-based mobile device management, mobile application management, and PC management offering) appears to address the primary needs and requirements of organisations as they try to support new, modern work styles and initiate business process transformation programs with technologies that enable “enterprise mobility.”

“Office 365 is device-agnostic,” he explains, “and Intune supports heterogeneous environments, so Microsoft is clearly open for mobile business.

“Moreover, if organisations want to provide employees with a unified experience across desktop, tablet, and smartphone, then Microsoft will welcome CIOs with open arms, offering some very attractive deals that include highly affordable, functionally rich Lumia smartphones and ‘phablets’.”

Furthermore, Richards believes Google is “highly attuned” to the presence and continued threat of Microsoft in the workplace, and it wants to ensure that it has every move covered with respect to Android and the devices bridgehead this represents.

To this end, Google recently unveiled Android for Work, a new built-in feature available on selected devices running Android Lollipop and facilitated by a downloadable app on others.

“Android for Work enables corporate IT departments to create a managed “work” profile on supported Android devices,” Edwards explains.

“Its launch partners included leading enterprise mobility management (EMM) vendors, though, unsurprisingly, Microsoft was not one of them.”

Consequently, Edwards claims developers need to modify their apps to support for Android for Work, and this hints at a chink in the armour in its enterprise-readiness.

“One that Microsoft is sure to exploit as it goes head to head with Google to defend its last remaining stronghold,” he adds.”

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