Apple goes after business; watch out Palm, RIM, Microsoft

Apple goes after business; watch out Palm, RIM, Microsoft

Summary: There was a lot of ground to cover in the keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference this morning - and I'll be chiming in on more from the event later. But here's a quick observation about the potential rise of Macs and iPhones as business devices.

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There was a lot of ground to cover in the keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference this morning - and I'll be chiming in on more from the event later. But here's a quick observation about the potential rise of Macs and iPhones as business devices.

Over the weekend, fellow ZDNet blogger Zack Whittaker chimed in with a post titled: Why enterprise networks run Windows, not the Mac. Then, this morning, fellow blogger Andrew Nusca offered his take on how Palm, as a business device, is going after the Blackberry, not the iPhone. Sorry, guys, it looks like Apple is trying to deflate your arguments.

From where I sit, there were two words that came out of today's announcements - Exchange and encryption - that will impact the way businesses think about Apple. Support for Exchange in Apple's native mail, calendar and address book programs on a Mac - the same ones that sync with the communications apps on the iPhone - is a big deal. I've not been a fan of Microsoft Entourage - which is the Mac version of Outlook. But I've also not really been able to use Apple Mail and the other apps because I still need Entourage to get those business messages. The new features built into the Exchange support, including the ability to preview a file such as a Powerpoint as a mail attachments - even if you don't have Microsoft's Powerpoint installed on your machine.

At the tail end of the keynote, Marketing VP Phil Schiller noted that the new iPhone OS will include hardware encryption - a data-protection feature that businesses have asked for - and that the encryption will extend to the Mac or PC when the data is backed up. Apple also announced a feature that allows users to remotely wipe clean their iPhones if it gets lost so that sensitive corporate data doesn't fall into the wrong hands - and can still be recovered by syncing with the computer when the phone is either recovered or replaced. (see video below)

It's tough to say if business customers will flock to an Apple solution - after all, the computers are still significantly more expensive than a Windows machine and there are some native apps that just won't run on a Mac. But, as businesses learn more about the cost savings that come with cloud computing and mobile apps for business transactions, the necessity for an all-Windows solution becomes less critical.

The Palm Pre - which launched over the weekend - is being billed not so much as an iPhone killer but instead as a device that's going after Blackberry business users. The Apple news - and new hardware pricing - puts a wrinkle in that argument. For $199, a company can get a 16 GB next-gen iPhone that has access to thousands of apps. The Pre is $299.

For those who dismissed the iPhone as a fun gadget that's wasn't ready for business use, it may be time to change your tune.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, BlackBerry

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26 comments
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  • @Sam Diaz

    I think once Apple's contract with AT&T is expired and they can move to Verizon, Sprint, etc, will see more adoption to the iPhone. I've talked with a lot of people about it and almost all of them say they would like to get an iPhone, they just don't want to go to AT&T. So they settle for something else.
    Axsimulate
    • Honestly Axsimulate,

      I just don't understand that reasoning. I have been on ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and think they all suck equally.

      I am not saying that what you are saying is wrong or your friends didn't say that, I just don't understand that reasoning. To me they all suck.
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Well, in rural areas (VA) ATT's coverage is non-existent

        I have had an iPod Touch for years and would be all over an iPhone if I could use Verizon as the SP.

        I think AT&T is all good if you're in an urban area, but once you get out of those their coverage is sub-prime at best.
        derek.mcmillian@...
  • I do doubt that anything mentioned

    in your article is of any real significance to the companies you mentioned.

    Well, the Pre/iPhone price point [i]may[/i] be an issue, but beyond that it is a lot more complicated then you make it sound.
    GuidingLight
  • RE: Apple goes after business; watch out Palm, RIM, Microsoft

    Although your article is fine and I think that there will be some issues for Palm with the price point, saying that the price of the Palm is $299 is a bit misleading. Any person of average intelligence is simply going to go to best buy to get it so you don't pay the extra $100 and have to wait for the rebate. Which makes the Pre $199 as well.
    drewitz@...
  • And unless this has been addressed elsewhere,

    But iPhone will not be able to fully gain Business
    attention, if there is not a backend solution to
    manage the devices. For WiMo it is Exchange, for
    Blackberry it is BES. iPhone may be able to
    capture a few business hats with the encryption,
    but it is going to require some sort of backend,
    before I think any really serious company will
    seriously look at it. Plus they are going to need
    to be on other networks as well.
    xXSpeedzXx
  • MS Office Is No Longer Necessary!

    good points - but add to that the most important
    thing about Exchange being built-in - Mac users
    will no longer need to buy the grossly bloated and
    overpriced MS Office once Entourage is
    unnecessary! iWorks or other inexpensive
    alternative programs can do everything else
    already.

    For Macs, Snow Leopard is the Office Killer. Yeah!
    Sorry, PC.
    AlfieJr
    • Just another ...

      ... tard that knows nothing about needing to perform actual work in an enterprise environment. It's not all about email, text documents, and drawing pretty pictures.

      Take your toy platform and go back to your room. I can already hear the baby music.
      Wolvergrunt
      • Please don't show your ignorance

        I've worked in enterprise environments deploying hundreds of Dell
        PCs, and I used to work for IBM and Compaq years ago. At home I
        have a Dell PowerEDGE server running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
        Edition. But I control it remotely from a Mac notebook. Why? Because
        MacOS X is a much nicer client OS than ANY version of Windows
        (including Win7 RC1, which I run virtualized on my MacBook along
        with Ubuntu Linux 9.04).

        Tim Berners-Lee invented the web on NeXTSTEP, the software
        ancestor of MacOS X, and he uses a Mac today. Les Vadasz, Intel co-
        founder, uses a Mac. So does Intel Senior VP Pat Gelsinger. So does
        Lars Bak, the chief software engineer of the V8 JavaScript engine in
        Google Chrome. I could go on, but I think I just proved that you're a
        lot more ignorant than you think, which must be why you posted as an
        anonymous coward.
        victorpanlilio@...
    • Was it ever necessary?

      Don't think so, but a lot of people did and
      shelled out a lot of good money for it. What a
      waste. :-(
      Mikael_z
  • Oh Sam, I do love your comedy articles...

    ...Apple have about as much chance of making a realistic impact on business as the Pope is of having a sex change.

    Little things like iTunes dependency, hardware lock in and Apple's appalling track record with third party software kind of get in the way.
    Sleeper Service
    • Worried?

      Yes, I think you are and should be considering
      Apple track record of successes.

      Less and less money to Microsoft and their little
      minions. Great!
      Mikael_z
    • More comedy...

      Actually, the pope was spotted at a sex change clinic...
      But seriously, why couldn't Apple create a business App
      store for Macs, which would allow business users to
      install business apps on their Macs. The business apps
      are all heading to the cloud anyway, so what client you
      use is becoming more irrelevant.
      prof123
  • iphone os server

    apple needs some kind of software server solution for
    managing lots of iphones remotely within an
    institution/company. relying on individual itunes backup/
    mobile me services won't cut it.

    but i guess they are working on something. this is apple's
    chance to take over mobile computing for the next decades
    (like they took over the digital music market) and i am quite
    convinced they won't blow it this time.
    bannedfromzdnetagain
  • Tough question answered

    "It?s tough to say if business customers will flock to an Apple solution - after all, the computers are still significantly more expensive than a Windows machine and there are some native apps that just won?t run on a Mac."

    So I FLOCK to pay lots more, lose some of my applications and have a mountian of retraining and worry ... at the time of a deep recession?

    Yeh, that's a toughie ;-)

    My answer is NO.
    Just a guess.
    jacksonjohn
    • My answer was yes

      And the price difference wasn't that much when some third
      party support company drove me away from a PC and to Apple
      and customer support provided by their own employees. Their
      own employees who wanted to keep me as a customer.

      And I owned a one man company - the owner was the CEO and
      bookkeeper and salesman and janitor. The CEO made an
      executive decision that was one of the best he made.

      For big companies it will be interesting to watch. The CEO and
      CIO and CFO will probably all have kids - many of whom will
      have iPhones and will be "teaching" the moms and dads about
      them. What does a CIO say to a CEO who bought one for his
      kids and himself - "I bought one too"?

      Others will push for one and a lot will be successful -
      especially if the top geeks in IT have them.

      Some will even point out that the infantry men and women are
      using them in iraq. If they are good enough for a war zone
      they should be good enough for a business. :)
      Ken_z
      • True but

        Geeks tend to love linux and I know soldiers in Afgan and iraq that had winmo, blackberrys, e series nokias etc.

        Doesnt mean a whole lot as soldiers dont tend to do office work in war zones, just though i would point that out.
        jdbukis@...
    • Hardware costs are hardly an issue

      because similarly equipped PCs cost roughly the
      same as a Mac. If the price on a new computer
      really is that important then the companies could
      buy Mac minis, $599 should be a bargain.

      No need for AV subscriptions and ditching MS
      Office should bring down real costs as well.
      Mikael_z
      • lol

        599 dolars is more than some decent laptops ocst.
        And if your running vista then there is no real need for an av provided you keep uac and internet protected mode on.
        Plus I doubt that I works is free, wait its not lol
        jdbukis@...
        • LOL! :-)

          [i]"599 dolars is more than some decent laptops
          ocst"[/i]

          Decent? LOL!

          [i]"And if your running vista then there is no
          real need for an av"[/i]

          LOL and LOL again!

          [i]"Plus I doubt that I works is free, wait its
          not lol"[/i]

          It costs a tiny fraction MSOffice costs, but
          Open Office is free. LOL! :-)
          Mikael_z