Analyst: Apple could release custom versions of its App Store for enterprise

October 2, 2012
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Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd revealed his thoughts during his talk on ‘Enterprise app stores: Setting the scene’ at the AppsWorld Europe exhibition in London, England today.

Shepherd begun by revealing that there is ‘fundamental shift in enterprise software rather than the stores themselves’ and said that the bring-your-own device (BYOD) and consumerization of IT trends have been the primary facilitators of these app stores.

The analyst reeled off a number of interesting stats, including Canalys' view that more than half of smartphones going into enterprise will be via a BYOD scheme by 2016, with 26% of these going into large businesses and 74% into SMBs (note: We think that these particular figures are UK only).

In regard to deployment, Shepherd said that the ‘appification’ of enterprise software is seeing apps being pushed to sales and field staff especially, while the researcher also revealed the healthcare, legal and finance sectors to be the most active when it comes to rolling out enterprise app stores.

“Enterprise app stores are really starting to come through, and is a reality for what CIOs are now looking at when deploying custom apps for their employees,” said Shepherd, who added that these stores also represent a ‘genuine opportunity’ for developers.

The Canalys analyst said that these CIOs are deploying both 'internal' and 'external' enterprise app stores, with the former offering third-party apps accessible to any enterprise (like SAP’s version for iOS and Android), and the latter acting as a ‘central app archive’ for approved applications (think versions from McAfee and MDM vendor MobileIron).

Intriguingly there was also a mention of hybrid enterprise app stores, and specifically how Apple could eventually customize its App Store for large business partners.

“Clearly with the Volume Purchasing Program, Apple has been trying to work with selected partners. But I expect to Apple to move in the direction of offering a custom App Store for enterprise.

“On one hand that would allow enterprise to upload custom app, while employees would also be able to download their own consumer apps for the App Store."

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