AT&T's Ron Spears recently revealed that 40% of the iPhones sold to-date during 2010 have been to business customers. RIM's BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows Mobile platforms are the default enterprise mobile computing choice. Or, rather, were. Should RIM be scared?Now that Apple has addressed many of IT's concerns when it comes to enterprise support for the iPhone, I think we can expect to see a lot more business users taking advantage of Apple's smartphone. That will come at the expense of other platforms, but I don't think Research In Motion has all that much to worry about.
According to Reuters, AT&T has activated about 15 million iPhones since 2007, representing about 17% of its user base. In its most recent quarter, RIM reported 41 million active users of its services. These numbers aren't an apples-to-apples comparison, though. Both Apple and RIM sell devices outside the U.S. We don't know what percentage overseas are being used by consumers versus enterprise users. AT&T operates in the U.S., and the 40% sales figure applies only to its U.S. customers.
AT&T's Spears also indicated that about 50% of its total wireless revenue comes from its business customers. That makes sense, as business customers typically have a higher ARPU when compared to the general public.
So, why doesn't RIM have to worry all that much? Well, for as far back as I can remember, RIM has sold five of the top ten smartphones in the U.S. quarter after quarter. Yes, the iPhone has made its presence known in the top 10, but RIM's numbers are looking decent...for now.
RIM is expected to debut new handsets and a new OS just as the next-generation iPhone goes on sale. Can RIM's refreshed software and hardware keep its loyal business customers from defecting to the iPhone?