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Android-loving suits boot BlackBerrys into 3rd place in the office

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RIM's share of the business market continues to slide: new figures put BlackBerrys into third place behind Android and iOS as staff are increasingly allowed to use their preferred handsets for work.

Only a third of the 1,600 firms surveyed globally provide smartphones for their employees, down from 58 per cent a year ago.

Workers are picking their own platforms to use and not many of them are picking RIM. Most are, unsurprisingly, picking iPhones, but a significant minority are choosing Android which puts BlackBerry into third place. Last year, RIM's gear was placed second behind Apple devices.

The numbers are 53 per cent use an iPhone, 34 per cent use Android and 26 per cent use BlackBerry. Windows Phone trails at five per cent. Smart readers will have noted that this totals 118 per cent which matches the UK's mobile penetration: some of those enterprise users are packing multiple handsets and we'd venture that not all of them are exclusively for business use.

An executive with his own iPhone might use that to check email in the morning, but still have a BlackBerry for use in the office, putting both devices into the "enterprise" camp though their commitment to it is far from equal. Sixteen per cent of respondents are apparently packing at least two smartphones in this way.

Which is good news for RIM, whose BlackBerry 10 OS can slip easily between work and personal life, but the software is a few months off from completion during which more ground will be lost.

RIM will launch new hardware to go with the OS at the end of January, and will produce a finalised build on 11 December in the hope of attracting more developers to the cause.

Surveys by enterprise networking biz iPass, which conducted the poll, are generally pretty accurate as the figures are drawn from customers using its connection-aggregation platform rather than self-selecting web users. There's a load more statistics about tablet use and future plans. The executive summary is that Apple will win and connectivity costs aren't being watched properly.

With users bringing in their own hardware under Bring Your Own Device schemes - and claiming back the cost of connectivity on expenses - iPass reckons companies are in for a shock as they're not counting the costs across the business.

Individual users aren't counting the pennies, but business should be, and there are a lot of pennies at stake. Such scaremongering is, of course, in iPass's interest - the company sells aggregated Wi-Fi access - but getting staff to use their own connectivity is becoming an unmeasured expense in many businesses. ®

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