It was a busy week in the mobility world. The lead story is Apple’s beta release of the iOS 6 operating system. It has a number of new features and appears to be a direct assault on Google strongholds of search and mapping. Verizon also announced that it will be bundling data plans for families which has an interesting implication for enterprises and Nokia announced poor results and forecasted even worse times ahead. Rounding out our top stories is the analysis by ABI research that Apple and Samsung now control over 90% of all smartphone industry profits and 55% market share.
Apple Launches iOS 6
Apple had a good week. It launched the iOS 6 beta at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Monday, Thursday saw the announcement of the unraveling of Nokia’s business and Friday ABI research indicated that along with Samsung, Apple controls 90% of smartphone industry profits. Much of this is not new as much as confirmation of trends we have seen developing over the past year. Mobility Guru and guest contributor John Kelvie broke down the iOS 6 changes in real-time this past Monday in his EdgeLens post.
Verizon Bundles Multi-Device Plans
A Verizon announcement for the family may have spill over for the enterprise. Here are the basics. Verizon announced this week that it will begin implementing combined family plans that offer unlimited talk and shared data allowances across all users. The impetus behind it is to encourage consumers to connect more devices to their data plans, in particular tablets. GigaOM reported in March that 90% of tablets are WiFi versions without cellular plans. This may help some families justify adding a tablet to their cellular bill and make sense to those that are paying a lot for plan members who use virtually no data. However, it may also cause families hit their data caps more quickly driven by the big users and some analysis suggests it will raise total cellular bills.
This is an announcement for family plans which may appear to have little relevance to the enterprise. However, it shows that Verizon has the capability to create ad hoc groups of users and apply data plans to them. For the enterprise this could allow some creative telecom expense management by combining high data users with lower data users into common groups to avoid overage charges. It may also make it easier to add tablets to employee cellular plans as they become more mainstream business tools. If you can negotiate unlimited plans all the better. However, as global mobile data traffic accelerates, managing data consumption and mobile data plans will become an important element in IT cost containment. Verizon’s family plan may provide new opportunities for the enterprise to proactively manage these costs effectively.
IT departments should also be on the look-out for changes in behavior where BYOD programs shift the mobile data charges to the employee. If employees are likely to hit data limits and incur charges they may resist conducting business on their mobile devices toward the end of their billing periods. This is a human factor that must be considered when implementing BYOD in a way that shifts costs to employees.
Nokia Announces Dismal Results, Cuts
Nokia announced this week that it was cutting 10,000 jobs and was struggling to gain market traction with its exclusive focus on Windows phone. Friday, news became worse as analysts began to value Nokia based on its asset value instead of its ability to generate future profits. This has become Microsoft’s problem, because it is relying so heavily on Nokia as its smartphone lifeline. Analysis here.
Samsung and Apple: 90% Smartphone Profits
ABI research reported Friday in a release that Apple and Samsung are the big winners benefiting from the rapid rise in smart phone sales. The research indicates that Apple and Samsung in Q1 2012 accounted for over 55% of smartphone sales and 90% of all industry profits. This exceeds the Apple Insider report from Canaccord Genuity’s Michael Walkley earlier this month that suggested the duo would garner just under 50% of the market by year end. Granted the ABI research was based on Q1 actuals and there are three quarters of the year left for rivals to catch up, but that would seem unlikely. With Samsung Galaxy S III’s 9 million unit pre-sales before it’s May release not hitting until Q2 numbers and an iPhone 5 expected in the autumn, the kings of smartphones seem more likely to extend their lead before year end.