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28 May 12 Office on iPads, Android Tablets Offers Good, Bad News for Microsoft

Rumors and reports are circulating that sometime in November the Microsoft Office application suite software will be available on the Apple iOS-powered iPad and the multiple tablet brands running Google Android. If it happens, it could be both good news and bad news for Microsoft.

The latest report about versions of Office for tablets was posted by the blog Boy Genius Report. However, we’ve seen this movie before; eWEEK followed reports of Office coming to the iPad back in February. So far, however, Microsoft, as well as Apple and Google have failed to respond to requests for comment.

Releasing Office for the iPad and Android platforms could be a good move for Microsoft because it needs to make sure that its bread and butter productivity application gets a piece of the action from the heavy sales of those popular tablet platforms.

The Apple iOS enjoys a 63 percent share of the smartphones and tablets operating system market. The next closest is Android with 19 percent. The figures are global and from the tracking firm Netmarketshare.

Windows didn’t even register with Netmarketshare as currently only Windows 7 runs on relatively few tablets. Microsoft’s smartphone OS, Windows Phone 7, runs only on smartphones and has just a 2.2 percent share of the global market for smartphones, according to a report released May 24 by IDC. IDC’s numbers, for the first quarter of 2012, give the lion’s share of the smartphone market to Android, at 59 percent, and Apple iOS, at 23 percent.

The point is that with Apple and Google so far ahead in the tablets category, Microsoft’s best chance is to hitch a ride on their rockets by running Office on their devices. Consider, too, that even if Apple and Google tablets are the most popular among the BYOD crowd, their enterprise network is probably still Windows based. So that could provide some continuity in the workplace for Microsoft if popular Office apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are accessible on both mobile end points and the corporate network.

The bad news about running Office on iPads and Android tablets is the implication that would have for Windows 8. The successor to Windows 7 is designed to run on tablets as well as desktop PCs. Microsoft is counting on Windows 8 gaining traction in the tablet space. If a mobile worker already has Office on his or her iPad or Android tablet, why would they trade that in for a Windows 8 tablet?

One theory on that comes from Digital Trends, which suggests that Microsoft could offer a slimmed down version of Office for iPads and Android tablets running just four apps—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote—rather than the full Office Suite, which also includes Outlook e-mail and calendar.

Notably, OneNote is already available on iOS and Android. Digital Trends says Microsoft could use the smaller version of Office on those rival tablets to entice an iPad or Android owner to upgrade to a full version of Office on a Windows 8 tablet. 

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26 Apr 12 iPhones, iPads Preferred to Android by Enterprise Users: Report

Apple devices hold far greater appeal for enterprise users than Android smartphones or tablets, Good Technology concluded in a new report on the first-quarter activations of its customers.

Good, a provider of multiplatform support for mobile devices, found that of the top 10 devices its customers deployed between January and March 2012, the top six were Apple devices. The Apple iPhone 4S was by far the most popular overall, accounting for 37 percent of activations during the quarter (rising up to even 40 percent in February alone), compared with the quarterly average of approximately 18 percent for the iPad 2, the next-most-frequently-activated device.

In seventh place, the top-activated Android device among Good customers was the Motorola Droid, accounting for just 1.6 percent of activations during the quarter.

Tablets and smartphones combined, Apple had an 80 percent share of activations to Android’s 20 percent. Looking at smartphones alone, Apple’s share dipped to 74 percent to Android’s 26 percent. Tablet activations split things still more sharply in Apple’s favor, wrote Good, accounting for 97 percent, compared with Android’s 3 percent.

“While the majority of Good’s customers support a dual-OS [bring-your-own-device, or BYOD] model, the 30 percent or so of companies that exclusively support a ‘company-owned’ or ‘corporate-liable’ device model are standardizing on iOS vs. Android devices in these environments,” states the report.

The industries most aggressively deploying tablets, Good found, are financial services, accounting for 36 percent of deployments during the quarter; business and professional services, at 17 percent; and health care—which showed the greatest increase in deployments of any industry since the fourth quarter of 2011—at 7 percent.

“Apple seems to have cornered the tablet market in 2011 and Q1 2012; however, the arrival of the first Windows 8 tablets later this year should have an effect on tablet-activation numbers,” the report noted. “But for now, the iPad remains the de facto enterprise tablet standard—especially when it comes to the large company-driven deployments …”

While Good released support for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 in April, the Nokia Lumia, it said, “didn’t have a chance to make the top 10 list in Q1.” Going forward, Good plans to include Windows platform activations in similar reports.

In early April, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, with Mobile Fusion, also expanded its offering to include support for mobile devices running iOS and Android. The figures in the Good report suggest RIM customers may well have their bases covered now, but with mobile carriers very interested in supporting a third mobile ecosystem, and Microsoft with Nokia and other manufacturers getting behind the Windows Phone platform, analysts have frowned at RIM’s decision to leave out support for Windows Phone.

“From a software-integration standpoint, it’s a mistake for them to delay adding support for Windows Phone to Mobile Fusion,” Ken Hyers, a senior analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK. “By the time they get around to it, enterprises will have had to make a choice for another mobile-device-management system.”

Good noted in its report that it’s enjoying the spoils of an industry that’s not only activating devices at a rapid clip but quickly adopting the BYOD trend and support for multiplatform environments.

The number of Good customers deploying iOS or Android devices grew by 50 percent over the last 12 months, it reported, while the average size of customer deployments more than doubled during that period.

“Even more impressive,” it added, is that from just the fourth quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, its customers’ activations grew by 50 percent, “nearly double the [growth of] the two previous quarters combined.”

Notably, the Apple iPhone 4S—again, the most-activated device of all—became available Oct. 14, 2011.


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15 Apr 12 BlackBerry Still Beats Android on Security, Analysis Finds

RIM’s BlackBerry remains the clear leader in mobile security with market share leader Android lagging badly, a “strengths and weakness” analysis of the four big platforms has concluded.

Enterprise Readiness of Consumer Mobile Platforms rated each platform on the basis of a number of criteria, including general device security, app security, code signing, authentication, device wipe ability, firewalling, and virtualisation, assigning each category a score out of five. (See also “Smartphone Security: How to Keep Your Handset Safe.”)

BlackBerry 7.0 came top with an average score of 2.89, ahead of Apple’s iOS with 1.7; Windows Phone 7 at 1.61; and Android 2.3 with 1.37; an order that corresponds roughly to the age of each platform.

Given how long it has been around, Android scored relatively poorly, the younger Windows Phone relatively well. BlackBerry has a long history in the business market — the others emerged as consumer platforms — but will nevertheless feel affirmed by its strong showing in manageability and corporate device control.

“Although Android is now available in more recent versions (4.x), version 2.x is still the most widely deployed on existing and new handsets. This is a security risk in itself; there is no central means of providing operating system updates, meaning that many users remain unprotected from critical vulnerabilities for a prolonged period,” note the authors, echoing a sentiment that Google must have grown exhausted hearing from around the industry.

Importantly, the report has no direct connection to any of the platforms discussed and was researched by Altimeter Group and Bloor Research on behalf of security company Trend Micro.

“Against the growing, unstoppable backdrop of consumerisation and BYOD [bring your own device], every mobile device is a risk to business,” said Trend Micro CTO, Raimund Genes.

“There is still a strong ‘consumer marketing’ legacy in some quarters and this is negating some of the progress made on the enterprise front. Indeed, some of the attributes we have examined in the report are still firmly ‘enterprise-unready.’”

What matters now is the extent to which each platform can continue to evolve and mature. Android undoubtedly can while the BlackBerry’s market struggles open its future to some doubt.

RIM recently botched an announcement which appeared to draw back from consumer device development in favour of its traditional business market. The question is whether such a division is any longer meaningful in an age driven by the BYOD Trend Micro’s report highlights. The once distinct consumer and business markets could have merged into one.

One winner could be Microsoft, a company with decades of experience serving businesses and plenty of popular enterprise software to help it push Windows Phone.

Both Windows Phone 7.5 and Android 2.3 remain weak in core applications such as business messaging, however, scoring zero is almost every category analyzed.

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22 Mar 12 Chrome: The people's Web browser choice

For a day, Chrome was the top Web browser in the world. It won't be the last time.

For a day, Chrome was the top Web browser in the world. It won

Yes. It’s true. For one day, March 18th, 2012, Chrome, and not Internet Explorer (IE), was the most popular Web browser in the world. It won’t be the last day. While the start of the work week put IE comfortably back on top. When users aren’t chained to their desks, they’re choosing to use Google’s speedy Chrome.

StatCounter, the Web-site analytics company research arm StatCounter Global Stats found that Chrome was the number one browser in the world that day. StatCounter data comes fron over 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the US) to the StatCounter network of more than three million websites

While it is only one day, this is a milestone,” said Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s CEO in a statement. He added that Chrome still faces a battle to unseat its main rivals including IE and Firefox in many regions. While Chrome is often number one in Brazil, India, and Russia Chrome remains in 2nd or 3rd place in China, United States and Germany.

“Whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long term remains to be seen, however the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable. At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE,” concluded Cullen.

On the weekends, the people are turning to Chrome for their Web browsing.

On the weekends, people are turning to Chrome for their Web browsing.

IE use has been declining for years now. Indeed, if you look just at which particular version of a Web browser is the most popular, you’ll see the most current edition of Chrome is the top single Web browser version. When it comes to mobile Web browsers, where Google’s native Android browser recently moved up to number one, IE is a total non-starter.

Desktop, tablet, or smartphone, now that Chrome is also moving to mobile platforms as well, the people are speaking and they’re saying that they want Chrome for their Web browser. The trend towards increased Chrome use over the weekend is clear. Chrome’s speed and relatively better security is winning it fans by the day. Within a few months, Chrome will rule the weekend. Then, with the rise of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement, it seems that within a year or so Chrome, and not IE, will be the world’s most popular Web browser all the time.

Web browser charts courtesy of StatCounter.

Related Stories:

Chrome was world’s top browser – for a day

The number one mobile Web browser: Google’s native Android browser

Web browser measurements changed and Google’s Chrome rating suffers

Review: Chrome 17, faster than ever, more secure than ever.

Microsoft: IE 6 drops to below one percent in browser usage share in U.S.

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