Why iPhone Beats BlackBerry for Business



The Apple iPhone dominates the world of consumer smart phones, but is a bit of a laggard in the business market, right?

Wrong! It turns out that the opposite is true. Apple is in fact a relatively minor player in the global consumer smart phone market, but by far the dominant player in business.

According to Gartner, Android has 52.5% global smart phone market share, Symbian 16.9%, iOS 15%, BlackBerry 11%, Bada 2.2% and Microsoft 1.5%.

In business, however, the iPhone has recently emerged as the top market-share leader with 45%. To achieve this dominance, Apple recently edged out BlackBerry, which has now fallen to 32% of the market. Android gets 21%, recently surpassing Nokia.

To be accurate, these numbers are apples and oranges, so to speak. The Gartner numbers are for both consumer and business and worldwide, and the iPhone numbers are businesses worldwide.

Android’s big global consumer numbers and iPhone’s big business numbers say more about whose got money and who hasn’t than what people’s preferences would be if all phones were priced the same. The fact that very cheap Android phones exist in the world, but very cheap iPhones do not exist, explains much.

Still, it’s a shocking result that’s counter to the conventional wisdom.

Perhaps even more shocking is BlackBerry’s recent second-place status in businesses and enterprises to the iPhone. Business is all BlackBerry’s got. Yet iPhone clobbers RIM in this space now.

More to the point, how can a phone that supposedly ignores business concerns surpass a phone that’s totally designed for business in the business marketplace?

Here’s why iPhone beats BlackBerry in business.

Switching fruit

It’s hard even for me to believe now, but when the iPhone first came out in 2007, I was too enamored of my BlackBerry Pearl 8100 to get one.

I loved that phone. It was small, and… and… it was… It was really small. Unfortunately the screen was tiny, and the user interface was like something from the Spanish Inquisition.

(When the iPhone App Store hit, I embraced the iPhone and never looked back.)

As a BlackBerry fan who switched to Apple, I was a fruit-swopping trend-setter, though ahead of my time.

Gadgets-for-cash startup Gazelle described recently a trend among Blackberry users trading in their devices. The company says the main reason is the iPhone 4S.

And while Gazelle data may indicate that Apple is the culprit for killing BlackBerry, in fact Google has a hand in the demise as well. Not only has Google successfully developed a thriving app ecosystem like Apple has, and provides a compelling alternative, the company has also recently done something somewhat devastating to the BlackBerry’s reputation — they pulled the BlackBerry Gmail app. Of course, this isn’t the end of the world — or even the end of Gmail on BlackBerry. The mobile browser version is still there. But it highlights RIM’s continued loss of momentum.

OK, but why iPhone over BlackBerry? 

One explanation for the rise in iPhones and fall of BlackBerrys is that companies are increasingly allowing employees to choose and buy their own phones, rather than buying company phones and issuing them to employees.

Related to that trend is a general move away from in-house, custom applications toward browser-based access and cloud computing. When data access is standardized, you don’t need a special application running on the client device and therefore there’s less incentive to force everyone to use the same phone.

And here’s another trend I haven’t seen anyone else suggest, but it’s one I’ve detected by talking to IT professionals — they love iPhones, too.

People who run IT departments at medium-sized companies tend to personally evaluate major handsets when they come out. They have budgets for buying boatloads of handsets to make sure everything works for mobile workers. A huge number of these professionals try iPhones, a large number of Android phones, BlackBerries and other major handsets. And after doing these evaluations, they tend to prefer iPhones for their personal handsets. These people are also major influencers within their companies, and they’re telling co-workers to buy iPhones because they believe it will reduce their own tech support burden.

I have no solid data to support this. But it appears to be a trend among the IT managers and CIOs I’ve talked to.

Another big problem with BlackBerry from a competitive standpoint is that its original claim to fame is no longer valid.

Years ago, BlackBerry was the best phone for typing messages. People texted and emailed like crazy from their BlackBerries. And people loved the wide handset with spacious physical keys.

Everybody caught up with BlackBerry on messaging services. Recently iMessage provided a superior alternative and Siri pounded the final nail in that coffin. And physical keyboards have generally fallen out of favor to make room for bigger and better screens.

It doesn’t help that RIM uses a proprietary network that goes down and causes regional blackouts from time to time.

For many users, the question isn’t why does iPhone beat BlackBerry, but why in the hell would anyone choose a BlackBerry at all?

Ultimately, it’s not all that complicated. The iPhone beats BlackBerry in business because business people are people, and people prefer iPhone.

What’s really changed is that the barriers to people choosing their own phones have gradually fallen away. And once given the chance, people are choosing iPhones.

(Photo courtesy of Natasha Lomas/silicon.com)

  • LinkWorxSeo

    I recently have been following more articles on mobile devices and trends of the biggest and baddest. This was definitely an insightful post. Being that I have been lagging in the mobile industry for some time now the recent articles being read seem to say the same thing about iPhone being the winner and most preferred of the mobile industry. I found this article from my FaceBook page. THX for the post.

  • Sydney Tsai

    For blackberries, there are few issues I keep getting for my company.
    1. Device Policy is always preventing users to do certain things, and it’s not consistent on device. Strangely, some device can take photos and not get encrypted, but some can?2. BES sync unhook, this has been a hassle for anyone. some just lost sync with contact, calendar or email… and usually end up with wipe & activate again.

    None of those have happened to iPhone users … they just figure things out themselves..

  • Guest

    “lower tech support costs”

    This is very true and a very powerful argument.   Apple stuff “just works” and your tech support demand goes way down as you don’t have to handhold on a daily basis anymore.

  • Donnmcginley

    “Tech support?” like “if it’s not working, stop holding it that way!”

  • Gordon Terry

    I have to agree. As a former tech support agent for AT&T, I spent hours talking hapless businessmen/women through how to use basic features on the blackberry, and developed a very thorough understanding of its workings. I would smile every time a call came in “I need to restore/update my blackberry”…upon hearing those words, I knew I could relax, kick back and spend the next 2 hours babying someone through one time-consuming task (since I was paid by the hour) rather than stress over 15 random tasks from other customers.

    I’m a technically inclined person, but no amount of price drops or tempting features could ever convince me to use a blackberry. I’m just too lazy.

  • Adil W

    Activesync is the reason why Iphone is better than blackberry. Middleware is eliminated and you directly connect to the exchange server. Another reason is the way HTML email displays on the IPhone, it is just like looking at MS outllook on your computer monitor. Blackberry cannot even come close to the way Iphone renders email on its screen.

    Mobile email is about recieving content and not creating content, therefore Iphone suceeds where blackberry failed.

  • csman

    The first thing I did in this piece of writing was to search for the word ‘security’. Zero matches. 
    This is the problem with fanboys, when they try to glorify a device that falls short compared to the messaging workhorse that is the Blackberry Bold. 
    Granted, companies let their employees choose their phones because they want to try what everybody is using out there, not because the iphone is a better tool for messaging or business.
    iMessage is just starting and it doesn’t have 70 million users. Siri works, it’s a nice tool, but it’s not something business users will consider for switching devices. By the way, Siri has been down a few times, nobody complained, because we’re just using it for amusement. I use it as a voice command alarm clock. “Wake me at 7am Siri!” =) Cloud services have been down too! 

    And security, not a single word. We know the answer.

    Business people like devices made for business, not a phone that lasts 6 hours a day, nor a toy that can’t keep up with continuous e-mail and messaging. And yes, the keyboard is a deal breaker.

    For work, I take my Bold, I leave the 4s at home. 

    Edit: Next time, put a Bold 9900/9930 on top of that iphone4/4s. People will notice the beautifully crafted keyboard.

  • Joe Fisher

    My Company issued me a blackberry and after purchasing an iPhone I would conclude that the iPhone beats the blackberry hands down from a user-friendly comparison. The blackberry is so complicated – it is just a matter of time when RIM will not exist. I get around our IT dept. by purchasing apps that circumvent their attempts at securing the network – I believe this is the prevalent “consumerization of IT

  • Joe Fisher

    My Company issued me a blackberry and after purchasing an iPhone I would conclude that the iPhone beats the blackberry hands down from a user-friendly comparison. The blackberry is so complicated – it is just a matter of time when RIM will not exist. I get around our IT dept. by purchasing apps that circumvent their attempts at securing the network – I believe this is the prevalent “consumerization of IT

  • Chernobylorbust

    Three words:  Blackberry Enterprise Server.  The ability to manage all the phones in a company at once is what makes me choose Blackberry over Iphone, as an IT admin.  Once apple creates a utility that works like BES express (free) to manage the iphone, then I’ll be sold.

  • Gary

    ok, so this is the final nail in the mike elgan coffin, he has no credibility left. I mean this article is just junk. His stats are all apples and oranges and his analysis is smoke and mirrors. The keyboard is dead? ha! a little premature don’t you think? Siri the replacement for all? Ha, 33% success rate is what I see and hear (“Can i search the web for you”….”Sorry, i can’t do that right now”….). The blackberry is still the fastest way to send an email, ask anyone, including iphone users (don’t forget how wonderful autocorrect is on the iphone…wonders!) Email is THE killer app, always has been, always will be in the business world. “Companies are letting people buy their own phones” Ha, really? Whatever company is allowing their employees to buy their own phones has NO security. I work for a company that allows blackberrys or iphones, but you cannot purchase them on your own. Standard playbook for tech, nobody buys their own equipment unless you want holes. Mike, you have ZERO credibility after writing this.

  • Guest

    I am a telecom technician with a very small telecom company in the Northeast. When I was hired in July, my employer said he would issue me an Android phone. I convinced him that with all the apps available, my iPhone could do the same tasks as the Android, and I feel more comfortable using it. My boss now reimburses me for my cell phone bill and was AMAZED to see how fast I had my email account up and running. While it does have a smaller screen (something I hope Apple will rectify in the future with the iPhone 5), I can still use it for all my personal AND business needs. It’s very handy to check the network with RDP. And I saved my employer a couple hundred dollars on a new handset :)

  • Nicole Fox

    The iPhone is here to stay with such a large user base and most of those users who are Steve Jobs fan boys (No disrespect intended). This is really the time to make the most of this, and if you want to get your apps out in the App Store and ensure it is popular and heavily downloaded, through marketing tips and tricks, then you outta check out http://www.iphonedevreviews.com. Like me, you don’t even need to know how to program :D.

  • Alan

    I work for one of the largest packaged goods companies in the world and until last year, a 100% Blackberry-only company. You wanted to get email on your mobile, you had to have a Blackberry for security reasons. Then the President of the company decided he wanted to use an iPhone…end of story. We now have the choice of IPhone or Blackberry. I’m actually way more productive with my iPhone, then I was with my various BB’s. The variety of apps allows me to do almost anything on the road, that I would do in an office setting. I could never go back.

  • Jochenschrader

    One Point is tho, BB uses a lot less data traffic, which makes a big cost difference when roaming abroad. This needs to be fixed on the iPhone service.

  • SbMobile

    I agree with the last paragraph: “people just simply like iPhone better!” Once you go Apple, you never look back! More iPhone sales means more iPad sales, which lead to more sales of Mac’s! Apple is too smart in this area. Now parents can buy their kids iPod-Touch’s or simple iPod’s with a lot of features + they can track where their kids are & FaceTime or iMessage with them. The competition has NO answers for these things at present! RIM is doomed!

  • SbMobile

    Fortunately the carriers are already preparing similar services for 2012, that will render BES obsolete. RIM charges several different fees, which creates a “window” for others to step-in & offer better alternatives. RIM has lost enterprise handset buyers & will soon lose the one thing they can say makes them unique. After that, they’ll most likely “whither” away, since they’ve squandered their capital & have de-valued their patents, only another bad manager would be dumb enough to buy them. They’re finished!

  • Dario

    I like Blackberry Enterprise Software. It keeps everything synchronized very smoothly. Contacts, appoi

  • SbMobile

    December 15/11!! RIM’s earnings report! Sales figures, shipping numbers. That’s when we’ll know if what you’re saying is true. My vote is that RIM has lost over 2 million customers, since the Playbook’s release. That’s amazing! Plus, RIM’s numbers don’t add-up. They say they have: 1) 70 million users; 2) they have more downloads for apps than anyone else & make more money too; 3) 35 million BBM users, when they release BBM Music?!? What happened to the other 35 million users? They don’t use BBM? Seems to me, if half of your users aren’t using the services that make you money, then your mobile business model doesn’t work! Especially, when you’re only “shining” point is that you have “70” million users. When in reality, RIM is just using these users for a “repeat” sale, of crappy goods! Genius! Too bad they can’t compete with these ideas!

  • SbMobile

    BB’s use less data because they have fewer apps that rely on data. Most BB users I know don’t even use their web browser or have very little knowledge of its uses. That being said, this one of the main reasons RIM is reluctant to give BBOS a proper upgrade to compete in todays market. If they did, they’d have to upgrade their ancient servers to handle the “tons” of web traffic a “heavily” loaded ecosystem requires. iOS devices account for over 95% of mobile web traffic. That means there’s practically NO other devices using mobile web. That also shows that other app stores are NOT selling a lot of apps that use data! Apple should be commended for their ability to handle over 225 million+ users, trying to access music, media, videos, rentals, purchases, apps & now cloud-services that handle photos, work-pages, tracking devices, GPS, e-mail + webpages. All of that with barely a minor hiccup. RIM’s finished. They experience a minor “blip” in user traffic & the servers “hiccup” across the globe. Even small business is moving forward while RIM is left in the dust!

  • Johnsmith223

    The “less data traffic” argument is from the past.  It is based on RIM’s ability to compress text traffic which yields slight gains but when you add todays traffic with pre-compressed images, video, audio and images the value of compressing text is unnoticable.

  • Johnsmith223

    Blackberry tech support – “If your email is not working, just wait 3 days and it will fix itself!”

  • Bob

    We are in the middle of a test of iPhones in our business.  Bottom line, the battery will not support the needed power for a not uncommon 12 – 16 hour business day.  The other phones allow the user to change out a battery, so you can have a back up battery (blackberry et. al.).  Until this issue is resolved, the iPhone will remain purely a consumer device.  One small step for the business user (changeable batteries) one giant step for Apple business.  Or, I guess I can buy two i phones and use one as a back up hmmm.  And no I do no want some obscure case that has aded battery power, more bulk we do not need.    

  • Jeffery Mitchell

    This article is a opinion piece which really does very little to explain, with evidence, WHY people prefer iPhones over Blackberries.  The main reason it puts out there is…”People prefer iPhones”.  This article could have been reduced to a single word…”Because”.


    Whatever.  I see a lot, and I mean a lot, of Blackberry devices out there on the streets.

    I’ve been with RIM since 2009.  I started with a Blackberry Bold 9000 but have since moved up to a Blackberry Torch 9800.  While there is a certain amount of “regret” I feel in not jumping in with Apple, the more I play with an iPhone the less that regret is.  The iPhone 4S screen is too small and cramped.  Also, touch screen keyboards provide nowhere near the same efficiency as a hardware keyboard (for me at least).  I’m not just making this up either…I have an iPod Touch, which I bought as a way of removing some of the iPhone envy.  I find this thing damn frustrating to type on.  If I find this device bad, an iPhone will be no better.

    I think the biggest reason to choose Apple over RIM these days is because of apps.  However, when I really sat down and thought about it, my Torch has every app I want and use on a daily basis, either built in or available through the Blackberry app store.  About the only thing that’s not available is a good solution for streaming music from my home server to my Blackberry.  If I had that, I’d probably not look twice at the iPhone.  So, there’s this perception out there that Blackberry devices are borderline useless because of the lack of breadth and depth of app choices.  I think this perception is incorrect…but I suppose it depends on each individual person.   

    RIM really has itself to blame for it’s current predicament.  They overestimated their strengths and underestimated the competition.   They also seem to not understand what is important to end users.  I have no doubt that they will simply fade away if they can’t find some means of turning themselves around.  The perception is out there now, mostly propagated by the Tech Press, that RIM is a dead end and you don’t want a Blackberry device anymore.  That perception is pretty tough to turn around unless you have something very compelling to bring.

    The iPhone has flaws.  In the past it’s had poor antennas, currently it has a battery related flaw (which may or may not be fixed) but most of the time I think people ignore or overlook the flaws just because “it’s an iPhone”.  The device is NOT the be all and end all.  I think, at the end of the day, the world is far better off with choice.  It’ll be sad when the field narrows and RIM will no longer be there.  I’m not sure I like a world of only Apple and Android…with no hardware keyboards anywhere to be found.

  • Brett

    “One explanation for the rise in iPhones and fall of BlackBerrys is that companies are increasingly allowing employees to choose and buy their own phones, rather than buying company phones and issuing them to employees.”

    Likewise, imagine how quickly Macs would displace PCs if corporate IT departments took their boot off Apple’s throat.

  • willzone1

    Or snag a small battery-powered charger. It’s not much bigger than a single extra internal battery, and it’ll charge an iPhone more than once. Plug it in for a few minutes and you’ve got enough juice for another couple hours. I got one for $5 on Amazon.

  • Aus_e

    Airwatch – a good third party tool that gives BES like power to ios and other mobile devices.


    So, why Rim has to blame themselves if Apple and the rest “has so many flaws”?
    Why should they disapear if they are up to par?

  • Nredning

    I hope you don’t get paid for analysis. This article is nothing more than fanboi-ism with a touch of gross innacuracy thrown in.

    Yes, as the smart phone market becomes more consumer oriented, Apple and Google have taken market share, but not to the declining sales numbers.

    RIM missed a great opportunity to increase its sales figures massively. However, its declining market share is not on the backs of corporations that allow this. If you are a critical employee, who has to travel, and need mobile email, calendar and contacts, the BB will still be the best weapon in your arsenal. The security and integration is far superior to what is offered by Active Sync to iOS and Android. I can say this fairly safely, as I have used all extensively. Android and iPhone are great consumer devices, but as business tools they are still lacking.

  • Zuck77

    Does apple iPhone sync as well as. Bb with Microsoft outlook?

  • Dan Markus

    So you don’t want a “bulky” case with extra battery life, but you are ok with carrying another battery? touche douche…

  • Pratyush

    Blackberry is staring down the barrel. I wrote a blog post on this a few days ago eliciting personal phone calls from a few angry Blackberry honchos. They have lost the battle – but still dont realise it.


  • Thangaswamy Jayarajan

    Jeff, try the iPhone for 2 weeks … then lets see if you still feel the same

  • P Weeden

    Hi Mike,

    Great article.  The main issue we find with BlackBerry v iPhone and Android is cost.  

    A BlackBerry on BES has an additional cost of between £25 ($39) & £35 ($55) per device per month for full wireless sync  (depending on whether you have in-house or hosted Exchange).  Compare that to the £0 to £2 ($3) per month for iPhone or Android using Active-Sync and it is hard to argue for BES in SMEs.

    Yes, there are security benefits of a BES over Active-Sync enabled devices, but for the majority of our clients cost is much more of a concern than security.  One of our clients stands to save £5k ($7.8k) per year by moving to Android & iOS devices!


  • John L.

    I’m a dedicated iPhone user who uses it for business purposes, both in the States and overseas.  I would never trade my iPhone for a BB, but that’s my opinion.  This article seems more like a string of opinions as well, rather than factual comparisons.  In your finale section, “OK, but why iPhone over Blackberry?”, your 2 main points are because businesses allow their employees to choose their own phones and because IT people seems to prefer iPhones.  Neither of those two points are a direct knock against Blackberry specifically, it’s a knock against anything that isn’t an iPhone.  If you’re going to title an article, “Why iPhone Beats Blackberry for Business”, you need some stronger reasons and more solid content that compare and contrast the two brands.  Otherwise, your article won’t be taken seriously.  A better title would have been, “Why I Think iPhones Are the Best Business Phone”.

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  • Cornerstar31

    Yep it does, just setup a Microsoft Exchange account.

  • Cornerstar31

    Try Airwatch douche

  • Willy Lim

    I’ve been using blackberry for around 3 years and started using iPhone 4 last 2 months.

    I love my iPhone! It’s fun and a great phone.

    But I mainly use my iPhone for games, taking picture, editing picture and posting them to instagram and using some others apps. And also GPS is also so much better than my Blackberry Torch.

    But as for text, chatting and emailing, I still prefer blackberry by far. Simply due to faster typing, easier to save and send attachment, easier access to storage card, simple and more efficient way to organize email and multiple accounts.

    Also, you can argue about it, the way iPhone manage notifications didn’t feel right to me. For example you get new email notification and when you open the mail apps, the new email isn’t there yet and you have to load it again. Double work, double bandwidth usage. And also the notification itself isn’t always 100% work. Most of the time you got it, but sometime you just don’t. Apple really need to rework how its notifications work.

  • Willy Lim

    as for repeat sale, most of iphone user is also like that.

    Plug a camera on ipad, sold it as ipad 2. Change the camera and put on half done / half working Siri on iphone 4 , sold it as iphone 4Gs.

    just to be fair :)

  • Willy Lim

    iPhone for sure have advantages than other devices but this article didn’t cover any good and strong point. Didn’t do any justice to both device. Even comments on this article are way more insightful than the article itself.

  • Guest

    At least it can fix itself vs continuously being held the wrong way.

  • Guest

    I don’t see the heated battle between iPhones and BB’s very important in this day and age. A phone is a phone, doesn’t matter if it talks to you or not. For those of you siding with Siri, Vlingo is an app on BB with the same intelligence and voice recognition. While I agree that iPhones are amazing, the need for any type of external energy source or extra battery is annoying, especially if forgotten or misplaced. 
    The BB’s keyboard is something that I always have and will continue to enjoy using because I like the physical feel of the keys as I type out a long email or a text message. The wide screen on the iPhone is terrific for web surfing and viewing images but being a heavy user with little to no time to charge my phone and/or splurge money on something as inconvenient as an external energy source for the iPhone, I will continue to side with BB for several reasons.

  • pinellaskevin

    Disagree. It’s about the right tool for the job.  

    If you casually use your mobile for some emails, and calls but your job is a programmer than sure Android or Iphone will work just fine.  If  you are a salesman, consultant or business man on the front line of driving business so the programmers have a job to come to every day than using an Iphone is like banging a nail with the side of a wrench; sure it gets the nail in but a hammer would be much quicker.

    Making hundreds of calls a day?  The IPhone / Android requires you to unlock the screen, click phone icon, whoops its on contacts now it the Dialer icon, then try to search through 10000 contacts to find your customer..   VS….. Blackberry .. phone button, type the first letter of the first name and first letter of last name to find contact and call.  Don’t tell me about Siri… tried it for too long on a 10,000 contact database and it gets the right number maybe 50% of the time and will make you wait while she searches.   

    For Phone calls and quick contact dialing with large numbers of contacts BB wins hands down. 

    What about unified messaging in BB. It’s 1000%  more efficient than any Android or IPhone in responding to hundreds of communication a day.   You can rip them out while the competitors using IPhones takes multiple steps to go to mail, or text or back again and what not.  Too many reviews are written purely from what’s in the phone rather than what the tool is and how it’s going be used.  Generalizations such as this article show insight from a very small view point , window of the world of what people in business do. 

    Sometimes you need a wrench , sometimes a hammer depends on the job.