Apple devices are the clear favorite among business users, with Android, BlackBerry and Windows lagging far behind.
Apple grabbed 68 percent of all devices newly activated in 2014 on Intermedia’s business email cloud, while Android and Windows Phone lagged behind in the battle for business users.
The results were culled from the company’s ActiveSync activation logs, which record whenever an Intermedia Exchange user syncs a mobile device to their account.
Of the 446,752 devices newly activated on its network, a staggering 305,329 were Apple devices—with Android devices from Samsung following at a distant second and Motorola at an even more distant third.
"The iPhone is extremely simple to use, which business users may see as enabling them to quickly ramp up their productivity," Michael Gold, president of Intermedia, told eWEEK. "Beyond that, though, is the ecosystem effect: leading SaaS providers recognize the popularity of iOS and will often include technical support for their iOS services. This is much harder for SaaS providers to do with Android due to the fragmentation of devices and OS versions."
On the tablet front, 13.7 percent of all newly activated devices on Intermedia’s network were iPads. This is down from 16.2 percent in 2013 and down even further from 18.6 percent in 2012.
"I think we’re seeing the divergence of how business users leverage phones versus how they use tablets," Gold said. "People cycle through phones faster than tablets—after all, we keep our phones in our pockets and use them every five minutes—so it could just be that people refresh their phones more frequently. In our results, this would show up as a declining share of activations for the tablet category."
However, if tablets are indeed losing share, he said it may be because laptops have evolved with thinner form factors and tablet-like touch-screen functionality, which could be competing against tablets from the higher end.
Intermedia also compared the volume of new iPhone model activations during each new model’s launch season to the total number of devices activated during that period.
With 32 percent of all device activations in that period, the iPhone 6/6 Plus was Apple’s biggest launch yet on the company’s network—48 percent bigger than the iPhone 5s/5c.
Meanwhile, arch rival Samsung increased its share of the small to medium-size business market to 16.7 percent, up from 14.9 percent at the end of 2013.
The report noted that while Blackberry and Nokia have both increased their share of Intermedia activations in the last few years, neither company is making a significant move in the market.
Gold said BlackBerry surprised him by retaining their share of newly activated devices—at 1.02 percent in 2014, just slightly down from 1.2 percent in 2013.
"This tells me that they still have that base of hardcore users," he said. "I wouldn’t expect a roaring comeback without a major new product, but they may be able to maintain their base."
As for Microsoft, Gold mentions they just previewed their Windows 10 Phone, which he thinks promises some compelling new features that unify the desktop and mobile experience.
"Windows is still the dominant desktop OS for business users, so if Microsoft can piggy-back on that market share, their phones may yet have a bright future," he said.