A Challenge to Android’s Dominance: The Virus

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Last week in our blog, we talked about Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business and asked whether this is likely to impact field service organizations.  With Microsoft enjoying such a low market share of the smartphone market – currently around 3% – and with projections for this to attain around just 10% in 2017, the answer is probably “no”.  Maybe Microsoft needs some kind of a miracle to accelerate their market share even further.

But Microsoft may just be about to benefit from one of their oldest – and greatest – adversaries: the virus.  Ever since Microsoft dominated the desktop and server operating system markets, they have been constantly plagued by an ever-growing number of viruses that are still becoming more potent and deadly.

Microsoft’s popularity is certainly one reason for them being the constant target of virus and malware writers.  Others cite holes in the operating system that simply makes Microsoft an easy target and proactively finding holes has become a lucrative skill. The antivirus market itself was born out of fighting the virus threat.  And viruses on mobile phones have been around for almost ten years already so we shouldn’t be surprised by this uptick in prevalence.

But what has this got to do with mobile devices?  Simple; Android is now the most targeted mobile operating system when it comes to viruses.  So much so that Samsung – one of the leading suppliers of smartphones – is having to improve its anti-virus protection on its Galaxy-branded phones following their partnership announcement, last week, with Lookout.

Potentially therefore, this is a positive change that, if it isn’t successful, could open a route for Microsoft to sell more Windows Phone devices as the incidence of viruses on Windows Phone is currently very low.  In the days of PC viruses, users became super frustrated with an inability to remove viruses, repair their software, and to provide adequate protection.  And smartphones are the backbone of many people’s lives – both personally and professionally out in the field.  Nobody is going to want to deploy mobile devices that are a security headache in terms of virus protection so Samsung needs to ensure that they get their antivirus protection right.

So this could feasibly help Microsoft but it is still a longshot and we all know what will happen if Microsoft’s market share was to increase significantly: they would become the new focus for targeting viruses!

But as managers of field service businesses, what do you feel about the growing threat of smartphone-based viruses?  Will this change your investment decision?

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