Will Samsung Enlist Microsoft to Beat Apple in the Enterprise?

By Markets Fool.com

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Samsung's newest patent is intriguing, as is its deeper relationship with Microsoft. Photo: Samsung

AfterSamsung's mobile operating profit fell 74%, 64%, and 57% year on year in the last three quarters due to disappointing sales of its Galaxy S5, initial reports on the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge appeared to convey strong demand for Samsung's latest products.

But if the newest reports are correct, the company's mobile woes continue. Data on Samsung's actual shipments suggests that the Galaxy S6 will experience even lower demand than its predecessor.

Conversely, its high-end competitor Apple is going from strength to strength as its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are experiencing tremendous demand and stealingAndroid-based users. In the heavily watched mobile enterprise market, Apple's lead is particularly noticeable. Mobile security firm Good Technology found that Apple's iOS led all vendors in first-quarter enterprise activations, taking a massive 72% market share.

For Samsung, this is a market it can not afford to lose. Corporations tend to remain with a vendor after the initial purchase, as wide-scale changes are costly and difficult to implement, and custom apps are locking in the bring-your-own-device crowd to a single platform. As the way we work and collaborate continues to evolve, enterprise and business concerns will play a greater factor in purchasing decisions.

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Is this Samsung's big new answer to reverse its enterprise woes?
A recent report from Patently Mobile gives insight into Samsung's possible plans to reverse its poor mobile enterprise showing. The company filed a patent application for a dual-operating system smartphone and/or phablet with a laptop-like shell docking station. Essentially, the company is looking to create a new twist on the two-in-one category with a phone-computer hybrid.

Samsung's patent for a dual-OS docking station. Source: Patently Mobile

As interesting as the two-in-one angle is, however, it's perhaps not the best selling point to the enterprise crowd. For years, Microsoft has dominated the enterprise market, with its Microsoft Office suite being almost mandatory on computers. Samsung's new patent could bring Microsoft functionality to Samsung smartphones -- when the unit is docked within the network shell, the system will reportedly run a Windows operating system.

Add this to earlier moves by Samsung to include Windows-based applications preinstalled on the Samsung Galaxy S6, and it becomes more evident that the two are willing to align to fight Apple's mobile enterprise dominance.

This could be bad news for the iPad
In the greater Samsung-Microsoft partnership and the actual patented design, the big loser could be Apple's iPad. As fellow Fool Evan Niu displays in his chart, iPad unit sales have fallen year over year for the last five calendar quarters as the market transitions from early adopters to late adopters and upgraders. Recently, Apple has made a big push to reinvigorate sales by increasing the iPad's penetration in the business market through its partnership with IBM.

Apple's iPad has also fallen victim to a plethora of substitutes. Larger phablet phones and two-in-ones are able to recreate the tablet experience -- even Apple's iPhone 6 Plus is a competitor, cannibalizing iPad sales as its 5.5-inch screen is close enough to the iPad Mini's 7.9"-display. If Samsung is able to execute with a strong enterprise-focused, dual-OS solution, it could further dampen iPad demand.

That said, it's important to note this is only a patent -- many designs don't see the light of day. While I applaud Samsung and Microsoft for working more closely to offer enterprise-specific solutions -- as I do with Apple and IBM -- I'm taking a wait and see approach to see if Samsung will be able to reverse Apple's mobile enterprise dominance.

The article Will Samsung Enlist Microsoft to Beat Apple in the Enterprise? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jamal Carnette owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.