Microsoft’s edge in the mobile enterprise

New data from Forrester Research (via Apple Insider) indicates end users increasingly want to use Apple’s devices on the job. The market research firm’s annual Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends report found that one in four employees would like to use an iPad for work, and one-third of respondents said they wanted an iPhone for their next work smartphone — equaling the combined figure for Android and Windows Phone devices.

That’s no surprise, of course, but a closer look reveals that Microsoft has some substantial advantages in the mobile enterprise market. The massive developer still dominates the most popular platforms in the enterprise, claiming 92 percent of all desktop-using respondents and 87 percent of laptop users. Those huge audiences are low-hanging fruit for Microsoft because no other mobile operating system integrates as well with Microsoft Windows and its other PC-based software as well as Windows Phone. Furthermore, 32 percent of respondents said they want Windows powering their next work tablet, outpacing the 26 percent who want an iOS tablet for their jobs.

Apple will surely continue to expand into the corporate world as the BYOD (bring your own device movement) gains steam this year, and I still believe BlackBerry has a chance to stage an astounding comeback. But while Windows Phone is slowly building an audience, and Microsoft’s dominance in traditional enterprise software will be a huge weapon in the battle for the mobile enterprise.