Business E-Mail on Smartphones Poised for Big Growth

By Jessica Davis

Whether it’s a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android-based smartphone, more workers will be checking e-mail on their smartphones in the years to come, according to a new report from IDC, which predicts the number of subscribers to mobile e-mail will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.5 percent through 2014. More than 250 million users will be checking business e-mail on their smartphones by 2014.

The growth of smartphones is driving the growth of mobile e-mail, IDC said, noting that currently 20 percent of all mobile phones are smartphones, but that smartphone shipments will grow 55.4 percent in 2010. That big growth will lead to strong business mobile e-mail adoption over the next several years.

That’s because e-mail is typically the first application enabled on corporate-liable deployments and on individual-liable smartphones for business use. Other factors driving the rapid adoption of mobile e-mail include new players and innovations on the mobile OS front, and better service offerings from wireless carriers that include mobile data services, according to IDC.

"The growing number of individual-liable devices that organizations are allowing to access business data is a significant driver of business mobile e-mail," said Stephen Drake, program vice president, Mobility and Telecom, at IDC. "This is often the first and most critical business application for this user base."

BlackBerry and Microsoft dominated the market in 2009. RIM made $287.8 million in business mobile e-mail revenues and a 57.2 percent market share based on revenues. IDC said that while many business users rely on BlackBerry devices for secure business mobile e-mail, consumers are buying them too, enabling RIM to capitalize on individual-liable business user opportunities.

Meanwhile, Microsoft grabbed 71.5 percent share of the subscriber market in 2009 and experienced tremendous subscriber growth with its ubiquitous Exchange Active Sync across key OSes, including iPhone, Symbian, its own Windows Mobile and WebOS. In 2010 and 2011, Microsoft is poised to continue this growth with the explosion of the Android OS and the launch of Windows Phone 7, IDC said.

This article was originally published on 2010-09-14