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So an iPhone user tries out Windows Phone 8.1...

Ryan Faas | May 9, 2014
...and comes away impressed by Microsoft's latest mobile OS.

Microsoft could leapfrog over Android in the enterprise
While Apple has managed to carve out a big part of the enterprise mobility market, Android hasn't. Although Android is supported to one extent or another in many workplaces, it presents a unique set of challenges for enterprise IT shops. Most Android devices do not run the most recent, and therefore most secure, version of Android. Because Google allows manufacturers and carriers to control so much of the upgrade process, patches and even whole major releases may never reach some devices, causing a major security concern even when EMS solutions are employed.

EMS should be: EMM (enterprise mobility management) and mobile security solutions are employed.

Android is also not designed to be a closed and secure system like iOS and manufacturers can modify the OS in significant ways. Samsung is trying to use this freedom to create an enterprise-grade version of Android using its KNOX and SAFE programs; other Android manufacturers have made some strides in the same direction. The problem is that manufacturers rely on different security APIs, making consistent universal security and management a challenge.

While it's hard to see Windows Phone grabbing Android's consumer market share, the platform's new level of polish and extended feature set put it on par with iOS and Android. Given the advantages Windows Phone has in the enterprise market — and the general impression that Android may be too big a challenge to manage effectively — it's not inconceivable that with enough growth and encouragement from IT, the OS could gain a strong foothold in enterprise organizations and outpace Android adoption over time.

It's also worth noting that, like Apple, Microsoft has kept stricter control of the Windows Phone update process than has Google. That is a major factor and could become even more significant now that Microsoft has completed its acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business.

Adhering to the mobile-first, cloud-first ethic
Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft's EMS, combined with the release of Office for iPad, highlight the company's strategy of being mobile-first and delivering enterprise-grade capabilities across the realistic range of mobile computing in the workplace.Offering a compelling experience, a relatively easy transition from iPhone or Android and a feature-complete mobile OS could help Windows Phone gain the traction that has pretty much eluded the platform since its introduction.


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