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Top 5 enterprise mobility news stories of 2013

Apple, BlackBerry, IBM and Oracle all made headlines in the enterprise mobility market this year -- some for good reasons, others for missteps.

Enterprise mobility stole the consumerization headlines in 2013.

Good news from Apple, Inc., bad news from BlackBerry and all the enterprise mobility news in between captured readers' attention this year. New companies jumped into the market, existing players pushed forward and IT professionals struggled to keep up with it all.

Here's a look back at the enterprise mobility news stories that were most popular with readers this year:

5. IBM, Oracle go mobile

Two of the biggest names in enterprise technology jumped headfirst into the mobile market in November. IBM acquired Fiberlink, maker of the popular MaaS360 enterprise mobility management (EMM) service, and then struck an application management deal with Apperian two weeks later. Meanwhile, Oracle Corp. purchased Bitzer Mobile, a mobile application management (MAM) vendor. Analysts said the moves made sense, given the size of IBM and Oracle and their need to have more of a presence in the EMM market.

4. Citrix XenMobile makes waves

Citrix had been a player in the mobile market for a while, through its CloudGateway product. But you kind of had a sense things would pick up in 2013 after the company's late-2012 acquisition of mobile device management (MDM) vendor Zenprise. And pick up they did, when Citrix released the XenMobile platform at its Synergy conference in May. XenMobile combines MDM, MAM and file sharing, and its Worx platform is designed to make popular, publicly available apps manageable in a corporate setting. At the time, Citrix said there would be more than 500 Worx-enabled apps in development by the end of the year, but as of late October, the company was short of that goal.

3. Consumerization brings shift in job roles

The emergence of mobile and cloud computing led businesses to reevaluate the job roles in their IT departments in 2013. Traditional IT responsibilities are still crucial, but organizations face new challenges, such as staying on top of the fast-paced consumer technology market. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for example, built an "IT petting zoo" where employees could try out 3-D printers and iPad-controlled robots. And some organizations explored creating new positions, such as a chief mobility officer and chief digital officer to oversee these efforts.

2. BlackBerry continues to struggle

After months of pushing its new operating system and devices, BlackBerry lost whatever momentum it had in July and laid off much of its research and development and manufacturing staff. The company said the 250 layoffs were part of its plan to operate more efficiently and create new growth opportunities, but they set the stage for more turmoil later in the year.

BlackBerry planned to sell itself to Fairfax Financial Holdings and go private in September, but those plans abruptly changed in November. Instead, the company accepted $1 billion in cash from Fairfax, CEO Thorsten Heins resigned and John Chen took over on an interim basis. Under Chen's leadership, BlackBerry will focus on BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10's support for iOS and Android, which is a major selling point for its remaining enterprise customers.

1. Apple iOS 7 gets built-in MAM

Mobile device management features, such as remote wipe and passcode enforcement, have been a part of the past several iOS versions. With this year's iOS 7 release, Apple upped the ante by adding MAM. The new iOS 7 mobile management includes Managed Open In, which gives IT more control over which apps can access corporate data, and per-app VPN, which makes remote access more user-friendly. By building MAM into the operating system, Apple forced some EMM vendors to consider their strategies; VMware, Inc., for example, abandoned its secure containers for iOS.

Also in 2013, Apple released two new iPhone 5 models, the 5s and 5c. The iPhone 5s Touch ID technology, which lets users unlock their phones with their fingerprints, raised some security concerns among IT professionals. In addition, Apple made waves by releasing its new Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, for free to existing users and giving away its iWork suite to new iOS device buyers.

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