Did Apple launch an enterprise Trojan Horse?

Summary:iMessage could be a Microsoft and BlackBerry killer. But is this a pie in the sky idea?

Mulling over the WWDC announcements it struck me that Apple might just have launched a Trojan Horse into the enterprise, effectively striking out at both BlackBerry and Microsoft with a single shot.

On BlackBerry, Larry Dignan argues:

Apple touted its iMessage, a system that allows anyone with an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch send unlimited free text messages to another iOS device. Apple’s iMessage is a direct assault on BBM, which is arguably RIM’s most marketable item.

I don't disagree. There are only three reasons I am hanging onto BlackBerry and even then by a slim thread:

  1. Battery life - way better than other smartphones in my experience
  2. Speed - BlackBerry is fast
  3. Consolidated messaging via BBM - one screen, all messages.

Everything else about BB pretty much sux, especially the apps and if it wasn't for those three factors above, I'd be on iPhone only (or possibly Android) in a heartbeat.

On the Microsoft front, Apple's ability to synch any i-related device and for free must be an ominous sign for Exchange. Perhaps that's putting it a little too strongly but I am increasingly seeing small businesses switch to iPhone and quietly retiring BlackBerry. Auto synching to any device has surely got to be attractive, as has the ability to share any message with colleagues/friends/relatives. Goodbye cc/Bcc?

It's not so long ago that Apple's premium pricing on laptops in particular was thought to exclude the prospect of a wholesale change away from Windows based machines. However the fact I see iPad as the de facto executive device of choice implies that money can be found where a device offers perceived superior value. And as we see more applications move to the cloud, where does Microsoft continue to find relevance in the business?

Is it that much of a stretch to imagine those same businesses pulling the plug on their Office Productivity suite apps? After all, a single throat to choke and standardised admin are often cited as reasons why IT shops want to streamline suppliers. And for smaller businesses, eliminating IT admin is a highly attractive proposition.

You'd be hard pressed to prise Excel away from the accounting types but with more analytic related functions being shoehorned into applications, the storm clouds appear to be gathering.

Am I reading too much into this or are we finally seeing Apple get serious about an enterprise play, providing irresistible functionality that makes its selection a no brainer? Right now, nothing would surprise me.

More WWDC Coverage:

ZDNet:

CNet News:

Galleries Mac OS X Lion roarsA look at iOS 5 Gallery: Apple’s WWDC 2011

TechRepublic: Apple’s next frontier: Your data

BNET: WWDC: Apple Blows an Opportunity To Change the World

Topics: Hardware, Data Centers, Hewlett-Packard, Storage

About

Dennis Howlett has been providing comment and analysis on enterprise software since 1991 in a variety of European trade and professional journals including CFO Magazine, The Economist and Information Week. Today, apart from being a full time blogger on innovation for professional services organisations, he is a founding member of Enterpri... Full Bio

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