Apple appears to have checked off most of the issues enterprise managers have raised over the past several years. Research in Motion and its BlackBerry platform were in the segment first and have the significant share in the enterprise. But Apple's iPhone 4.0 platform can now rock in the enterprise as well as let users have their apps.
Aside from multitasking, which isn't really an enterprise killer feature, the new OS will let enterprises host, distribute and manage in-house applications, bypassing Apple's current services. Certainly, this is one of the features that has kept RIM running in the enterprise (aside from just coasting along with its substantial installed base).
According to Apple, its "new Mobile Device Management service can be integrated with third party servers to wirelessly configure, query and even wipe or lock managed iPhones." Before this was done through the MobileMe service.
Here are the other enterprise features enumerated by Apple:
The new Data Protection feature uses a user’s passcode as an encryption key to protect mail messages and attachments stored on the iPhone. iPhone OS 4 now provides the option to set a longer, more complex passcode, making iPhone and its data even more secure. iPhone OS 4 allows IT managers to set up multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts, is compatible with Exchange Server 2010 and includes support for forthcoming SSL VPN applications from Juniper Networks and Cisco.
Nearly 40 percent of Blackberry users continue to prefer Apple's iPhone as their next smartphone purchase, but a third of them would also switch to the Android operating system, according to the second smartphone brand loyalty survey conducted semi-annually via Crowd Science's advanced research platform for online audience measurement. The Crowd Scientists also found Android users rivaling iPhone users in loyalty, with about 90% of each user group planning to stick with their current brand when buying their next phone.
Worse, is the vision problem. Apple keeps offering customers solutions centered around customer values and everyone else talks about slick hardware and touchscreens, in other words, technology.
A week or so ago, RIM CEO Jim Balsillie (or half a CEO depending on how you look at their org chart), said that the company is stronger than ever and everything is fine. Of course, "amazing" hardware is coming in the second half of the year and everything is hunky dory.
And looking at the quarterly results, one can understand RIM's position: Gross margins at 46 percent, net income up from the year-ago quarter and strong international sales.
But after the Steve Jobs' preview show today on iPhone OS 4.0, can any RIM executive or customer think the same way?