Android’s critics have long argued that while consumers (particularly budget-constrained consumers) may flock to Android, businesses and governments would shun the mobile operating system due to its security flaws.
But that theory was dealt a crippling blow on Friday when the Pentagon said it had approved Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy devices for employee use.
While Android likely won’t become the preferred enterprise mobile operating system overnight, Samsung’s approval has paved the way for greater Android adoption -- to the detriment of both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY).
“Android isn’t secure”
It isn’t just fanboys that have slighted Android for its perceived lack of security -- rival phone executives have leveled the accusation.
In an attempt to make up for Android’s security issues, Samsung developed an Android addon it calls KNOX. Samsung’s KNOX creates a controlled environment within the phone -- like a separate container apart from the rest of the phone’s software. It was KNOX that earned Samsung the Pentagon's approval.
"You don't know how many keys you've given to the main door of your house because it's open software," he said about Android. "So what are you trying to do? You're locking the windows."
Obviously, Heins has a vested interest in downplaying any potential Android rivalry. AsVentureBeat notes, the majority of the Pentagon’s employees remain loyal to Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY). As BlackBerry has long lost the consumer market to Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), it can’t afford to lose its business users.
Apple’s Phil Schiller took to Twitter to blast Android
Like Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Heins, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Phil Schiller has also been critical of Android’s security. AsThe Verge points out, Schiller tweeted out a link to an F-Secure report last March. That report emphasized the large (and growing) number of malware threats Android faces.
Although the enterprise market isn't nearly as important to Apple as it is to Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), business users are a growing part of Apple’s strategy. Specifically with regards to iOS, as Apple continues to try to get businesses to adopt both the iPhone and iPad.
On the company’s last earnings call, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer remarked:
"Businesses around the world continue to scale iPhone across their workforces. Globally, nearly 30,000 companies are developing and distributing iOS apps for corporate use by their employees." "Cisco’s Bring Your Own Device program across 80 countries has resulted in a 50% increase in the number of iPhones connecting to its corporate network in the past year."
With Samsung getting approval, it means Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will face more competition in the enterprise segment.
Other Android makers will probably copy Samsung
Of course, the Pentagon only approved Samsung’s KNOX-enabled devices, not the entire Android operating system. However, now that Samsung has demonstrated it can be done, it seems highly likely that other Android manufacturers will follow suit.