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Apple Beats BlackBerry in Business Phones

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) has ousted Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry as the top smartphone for mobile workers, according to the latest research from wireless specialist iPass (IPAS - Get Report).

The company's survey of more than 2,300 employees at 1,100 businesses reveals that more than 45% of mobile workers now use iPhones, up from 31% last year. BlackBerry users, however, slipped to 32%, down from 35% in 2010.
Apple's iPhone is the top smartphone for mobile employees, says iPass.

"The BlackBerry has not really fallen from the top spot in so much as other smartphones have grown faster," explained iPass, in its report. Google (GOOG - Get Report) Android phones, it said, almost doubled their presence in the business market between 2010 and 2011, clinching a 21% market share and pushing Nokia (NOK), Symbian out of third place.

Nonetheless, the numbers point to the iPhone's growing popularity in the corporate arena, a trend fuelled by the device's phenomenal consumer success.

Apple sold 17.1 million iPhones during its recent fiscal fourth-quarter results, a 21% hike on the same period last year. Speaking during the earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 93% of the Fortune 500 are either deploying or testing the device, up from 91% in the prior quarter. "iPhone continues to be adopted as the standard across the enterprise," he said, noting that Lowe's (LOW) is rolling out over 40,000 iPhones with a custom-built application that lets employees check inventory levels.

Despite growing corporate use, Apple's fourth-quarter smartphone numbers came in below analysts' projections as customers awaited the arrival of the iPhone 4S. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm, however, should deliver massive iPhone numbers during its fiscal first quarter. Demand for the new iPhone 4S has already broken records, something which is reflected in the tech giant's robust guidance.

Apple declined to comment on this story. RIM has yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment.

Apple shares closed down $4.06, or 1.04%, at $384.77 on Wednesday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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