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For the past few years, technical support for mobile products in the workplace has generally been confined to the use of Android and Apple iOS operating systems. Android-powered devices and iPhones are the most common smartphones currently on the market for consumers and professionals alike.
As a result, businesses have invested heavily in supplying the proper support for such devices, as all other OS developers and manufacturers including BlackBerry and Microsoft have lagged in the market. However, recent developments suggest that the latter could be set to shake up the mobile market.
USA Today recently reported that Microsoft has agreed to purchase Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion. Microsoft is well placed to create a more competitive mobile market and could very well position itself as the leader in enterprise mobility.
Microsoft is currently the third-largest mobile OS developer in the world and Nokia is the second-largest smartphone manufacturer. Despite both companies showing less than stellar sales and innovation in the last few years, their combined presence in the smartphone sector can't be overlooked.
Certainly, Microsoft will need to perform exceptionally well to overtake Google and Apple in terms of OS proliferation, but the company has a significant enough percentage of the market to make things complicated for the competition.
Whether or not Microsoft becomes a major force in the market will depend in large part of the software giant's ability to promote and integrate its enterprise products with mobile devices.
The fact that the company has some widely used enterprise collaboration software with mobile capabilities already on the market should help it compete. One product that is likely to be at the center of Microsoft's promotional efforts is SharePoint. Already used by 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies, according to Microsoft, the latest version of the software was released with a number of mobile-centric features.
Although many mobile applications and tools are still relatively young, CMSWire reported that SharePoint 2013 has surprised many with its smartphone and tablet capabilities. In particular, the support of HTML5 coding in SharePoint 2013 is a major milestone, as it allows users to access the software on a number of devices. Also, the source stated that the inclusion of roughly a dozen third-party mobile apps makes SharePoint a more complete enterprise tool.
Interconnection between devices is driving the IT application services sector, which could help Microsoft win over customers if they can keep developing SharePoint mobility.
Dedication to security
According to CSO Online, BlackBerry's past success in the smartphone market stemmed from the fact it offered superior security when compared to other devices. However, once the market became more competitive, consumers dumped their BlackBerry devices in favor of iPhones and Android products that boasted innovative features.
Since BlackBerry's drop-off, there has been a lack of mobile security options for corporate and consumer buyers. The source suggested that if Microsoft is able to fill this gap, it could see sales of Windows Phone 8 devices skyrocket.
Earlier this year, Microsoft released a patch for Windows Phone 8 that included email encryption, support for virtual private networks and a host of other security features. Such technologies are largely deficient in the mobile market and a strong showing may be enough to drum up businesses, especially among enterprises that are facing an increasingly menacing security landscape.
If Microsoft takes over the enterprise sector, tech professionals may start to invest in IT training tailored to the company's products and services. However, that is only likely to happen if Microsoft can shake off its reputation for being an innovation graveyard and offer something new and useful to consumers and corporate clients.