LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Smartphones such as Google Inc’s Android-based devices and Apple Inc’s iPhone are poised to become popular business tools, said an executive at the world’s biggest technology distributor.
Increased use of Androids and iPhones for business, as consumers look to simplify their lives with one device for work and play, could hurt Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, which has been the dominant smartphone for corporations.
Hot-selling Android and iPhones have already conquered the consumer market, and with users becoming accustomed to those devices, more people want to use them for work, said Mario Leone, chief information officer at Ingram Micro Inc, which provides corporations with billions of dollars’ worth of technology each year.
The BlackBerry is a key device that companies made “part of their architecture,” Leone told Reuters in an interview.
“I think you’re seeing the same thing with the iPhone, which has historically been more in the consumer space and less in the pure business environment. And that’s changing — I think the iPhone and soon the Android and all of that — CIOs like myself have to make room for those kinds of devices.”
Research in Motion Ltd on Thursday reported better-than-expected third-quarter results, driven by sales of the BlackBerry Torch.
But analysts have pointed to some headwinds for RIM’s BlackBerry sales, even in the business segment, where it has ruled supreme.
The BlackBerry operating system is expected to see its global market share among business users decline to 33 percent in 2014, compared with 41.5 percent this year, according to research firm IDC.
Much of that will come from a surge by Android, which IDC expects to grab 12.7 percent in 2014, compared with 5.2 percent this year. In the face of strong Android growth, IDC expects the iPhone OS to decrease to 15 percent share in the same period, from 17.5 percent now.
Until now, one factor bolstering BlackBerry sales has been the company’s robust encryption technology to secure e-mail communications, making that device an easier choice for companies worried about losing proprietary information.
But Leone said businesses will increasingly find solutions to overcome security concerns. For instance, he said, sensitive information could be protected on Microsoft Corp’s SharePoint software, which could help businesses use more smartphones.
“I don’t think that over time they can be blocked from the corporate architecture,” he said.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: editing by Matthew Lewis