Apple 2.0

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Android gets 97% of malware. Apple iOS 58% of enterprise.

April 14, 2013: 7:49 AM ET

Should we be worried about industries that deploy malware-friendly Android devices?

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Source: McAfee

FORTUNE -- As a long-time Apple (AAPL) user who doesn't spend much time worrying about viruses, trojans and other malware, I've never had a lot of confidence in the reports issued periodically by computer security companies. They always seemed to be in the protection racket, trying to scare users into buying their anti-viral software.

But a pair of recent reports got me thinking.

The first, from McAfee -- now an Intel (INTC) company -- shows an pretty astonishing rise in malware designed to attack mobile devices, from 792 samples in 2011 to 36,699 in 2012.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given its growing popularity and vaunted openness, 97% of those samples were designed to attack Google (GOOG) Android. See Mobile Malware Growth Continuing in 2013.

The second, tangentially related report comes from Citrix Systems (CTXS), which estimates the adoption rate of mobile platforms in business by tracking their enrollment in cloud services.

Given what McAfee has discovered about mobile malware, it's perhaps not surprising that some enterprises might think twice about letting their employees conduct business in the cloud with Android devices. According to Citrix, 58% of enterprises worldwide were deploying Apple mobile devices in Q4 2012, up 2 percentage points from the previous quarter. Android, at 35%, lost 2 points. Microsoft (MSFT) Windows mobile was flat at 7%.

In North America and Asia the preference for iOS was even stronger: 62% and 75%, respectively.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, by contrast, iOS penetration dropped (to 43% from 56%) and Android increased 11 points to 36%.

But what gave me pause was the Citrix chart (below) that showed mobile platform adoption rates by vertical industry. I can see why the user-friendly iOS platform might be preferred in environments in which mobile users engage customers one-on-one, such retail, restaurants and real estate.

But is it really a good idea to be issuing malware-friendly Android devices to field workers in utilities, healthcare and communication services? Citrix was asking the same thing. See Enterprise Mobility Cloud Report Q4 2012.

Source: Citrix. Click to enlarge.

Source: Citrix. Click to enlarge.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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