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Mobile Developer Program Trends

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

Mobile Enterprise Developer Programs (MEDP) 

MEDP the acronym leaves Java developers with a bad taste in their mouth and will probably never become a standard. But Mobile Enterprise Developer Programs seem to have become more “trendy”. A sign of the times ‐ Samsung have just announced their new enterprise initiative at MWC: SEA. This is one of the facets of a wider initiative aimed at making Android more of an “enterprise friendly personal device”. This prompted us to do a quick review of the various players in this space: 

The Incumbents: Blackberry & Sybase 

Blackberry has been in the enterprise space for such a long time now that a lot of people have been blinded to their losing enterprise market share and becoming more of a teenager / social phone.

Blackberry has been leading the way in helping developers target the enterprise space, mainly through its Blackberry Alliance Program with a mix of benefits including:

  • Business opportunities at enterprise events with the combination of WES (Blackberry IT users) and Blackberry World (Blackberry developers)

  • Business opportunities from the Blackberry solutions catalog, both for software developer but also IT solution providers

  • A market development Fund

  • Privileged pricing and access to software, support and certification

  • Blackberry Enterprise Application Middleware, this initiative to let back end enterprise developers better interact with mobile devices was announced in September but still not released. It is seen as a way to stop the big trend towards multi‐OS enterprise deployments.

However Blackberry does not have a dedicated enterprise developer program per se, this is just embedded in their DNA, and in their existing developer community.

Sybase is the other incumbent in this space but since their acquisition by SAP their mobile edge seems to have eroded.

The Quiet Giant: Apple 

Apple shares a similar historical enterprise DNA (with designers, creative…), only much quietly until they surprised everyone this month with the launch of their SMB support program Joint Venture… But the iPhone and iPad have teamed up to open a large gap in the Blackberry monopoly with 30% of companies reported to authorize iPhone use and 88% in US 66% in Europe testing the iPhone, and the iPad opening yet new doors as a laptop replacement. with 88% of F100 testing iPads.

Apple recognized the importance of enterprise developers rather early with the launch in 2008 of the iPhone enterprise developer program, originally targeted at large enterprises willing to deploy apps internally has over time been extended to enterprise application developers; generally requiring both the enterprise and their solution provider to register to the program.

The ambiguous position of the program has not prevented Apple from being active in marketing certain application developers with good enterprise offerings through:

  • Entire sections of the iPad and iPhone marketing and website dedicated to the enterprise, and showcasing use cases and applications

  • The business app section of the appstore

  • The newly appeared Mobile Device Management section of their website

In an Apple fashion though most of Apple’s enterprise marketing and stories center on Apple; developers are thankful to them for creating the market. But Apple is also opening up to more collaboration from distributors, SIs, VARs and developers as the Green Giant is now looming on the horizon. WIP State of the Mobile Developer Ecosystem March / February 2011 Report

The Rising Star: Android 

Android is making phenomenal steps in the enterprise market, not only with smartphones but increasingly so with tablets. 30% of all new non Blackberry device activations in enterprise are Android according to Good technologies with a much higher rate unrecorded based on our research. While some enterprises have decided to buy Android devices as corporate devices, an important part of the growth is due to employees bringing their devices to work. This trend prompted Eric Moon, director of mobile enterprise at Samsung to declare “to be successful with consumers we need to get the basics for the enterprise right” and based on current implementation “it has been quite challenging for corporate decision makers to embrace Android”.

Hence the announcement of their enterprise program: SEA (Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program) with Sybase (Security), Citrix (Virtualization), and Cisco (Communication) as the first program members, shouldered by Samsung enterprise services division for custom apps needs. With this program Samsung is looking primarily for established partners looking to benefit from the mobile IT revolution and gain a larger share than they can currently get in Blackberry deployments.

So how does the program work in addition to traditional offerings:

  • A selective paid tiered program, similar to an IT partnership agreement (silver, gold, platinum)

  • Opportunity to collaborate with Samsung R&D and receive pre‐release devices

  • Testing by Samsung for specific solutions

  • Dedicated project and partner manager depending on project

  • UX guideline for better integration with Samsung look and feel

  • Joint GTM and collaboration meetings

  • Partner solution’s catalog

Who else is active in the Android developer program space?


As Google centres its enterprise strategy around Google Apps, it’s not surprising to see many cloud solutions in their marketplace with mobile coverage. Otherwise, they do not seem to have a different mobile enterprise developer offering apart from showcasing solutions at tradeshows. But plans to roll‐out an internal Android app store might change this in the future.


Through their rugged device division Motorola has maintained a strong enterprise presence and a dedicated developer program, the Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions Developer Program. It offers sales and technical support to ISVs, especially through their validated and compatible solution program.

However Motodev which looks after Android development is much less focused on this segment, with a limited offering made of a Device Management (EDM) SDK, and small co‐marketing possibilities (events presence).


With the launch of the Cius, their enterprise Android tablet, Cisco has launched a small enterprise developer program. New APIs and enterprise developer marketing and technical support are promised but this seems to be very confidential so far.

Watch this space as other enterprise players like Avaya or Alcatel Lucent are ready to jump on board.

The Bubbling Giants: Operators 

While enterprises are still the wild west of mobile operators; we see a growing interest in addressing enterprise services, especially in B2B2C which leverages operator presence, hence popularity of m‐health.

What is new in terms of developer strategy for operators in this space include:

MDM services based on partnerships seem to be the first step for most operators, with Mobile Iron, Sybase Afaria, and Good Technologies as the front runners

AT&T’s innovation centers are looking at accelerating the creation of enterprise services.

Verizon’s Mobile Service Enablement platform offers fast mobile application creation and deployment through Sybase’s offering

This space is getting busier by the day with landline enterprise operators and large IT service providers moving into this field. For example Accenture grew their mobile development team to around 1000 people in a year.

© Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. Page 4 of 16 WIP State of the Mobile Developer Ecosystem March / February 2011 Report © Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc. Page 5 of 16

The Absentees 

Microsoft and Nokia are strangely absent from this enterprise rush with their new focus on Windows Phone 7, which was positioned very clearly as a non‐enterprise OS for Microsoft. In the meantime Windows Mobile 6.5 is slowly disappearing from US enterprises, while Nokia’s positioning as an enterprise OEM with its E series remain confidential in Europe.

This limited enterprise strategy is matched by the developer program offering. Nokia relies on the cross platform nature of Qt to claim an enterprise play. Microsoft seems too busy explaining to developers how to migrate their existing apps to WP7 to really care about enterprise developers.

Partner or Developer Program? 

In an IT world traditionally dominated by partner programs and one to few relationships rather than a one to many, the developer program offering seems like a newcomer… but one that reflects a changing reality:

  • Democratization of mobile software development through HTML5

  • Consumerization of IT means that professionals will increasingly demand bite‐size applications to solve specific issues

  • Virtualization and cloud technologies making enterprise applications more portable to mobile.

Our recommendations to enterprise developer programs: 

  • Temptation will be big to become a closed partner program. Make decisions upfront about what you want to be and how you will roll out your program, to avoid disappointing your community

  • Mobile enterprise data is hard to find and often biased. In true developer spirit, work on bringing clarity and information to this space for your programs’ success.

  • Consumerization of IT plays into the advantage of mobile operators, look into services that could play on this trend

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