Businesses warming up to Apple iPhone

Businesses warming up to Apple iPhone

Summary: Consumers just love the sleek face and curvy lines of Apple's iPhone 3G, but what about the business community?


Apple iPhone 3GConsumers just love the sleek face and curvy lines of Apple's iPhone 3G, but what about the business community?

According to CNET's Tom Krazit, RIM's BlackBerry is under assault from Apple's "Jesus phone" -- and better keep an eye behind it:

The iPhone is making a guerrilla attack on the business world, brought into the corporate world by influential executives, CIOs rethinking their approach to deploying technology, and younger workers who move seamlessly between their personal and business lives.

There are several high-profile businesses, such as Genentech and Disney (both with strong ties to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, of course), that have declared their intentions to work with Apple on deploying iPhones inside their corporations. That seems to be having the effect of increasing the overall number of business smartphone users, however, rather than turning the iPhone into any kind of "BlackBerry killer."

But we haven't reached parity quite yet. Krazit notes the burgeoning trend in some statistics:

  • At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Jobs said 33 percent of the Fortune 500 had participated in Apple's beta program for the iPhone 2.0 software.
  • 65.5 percent of North American businesses that deploy mobile computers say they actively support the BlackBerry, compared with 22 percent that support Windows Mobile devices and just over 10 percent that support the iPhone, according to J. Gold Associates.

And some corporate anecdotes to go with, including one CTO says his company is too entrenched in BlackBerrydom to make the switch:

"Our reasons for not doing so have more to do with the age-old issue of having a finite number of internal resources to support our firm's technology. Given our already significant investment in BlackBerry, we cannot make a strong business case for adopting yet another platform."

The problem? Apple's only got AT&T, for one, and there are still some concerns about iPhone security with regard to custom apps. Plus there's that whole iTunes app to deal with.

On the other hand, smaller companies with more room to move seem to be adopting the iPhone more quickly than their corporate behemoth counterparts. And the upcoming BlackBerry Storm is, in this year's political parlance, a "game-changer" in terms of how corporations are looking at their mobile contracts.

What do you think: Will businesses make trade-offs for the iPhone? Tell us in TalkBack.

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

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • iTunes must go!

    Call it iSync or AppleSync, but you should just be able to sync Apps and Data without having to do the whole music thing.

    Plus, on my dual core HP desktop, iTunes runs like a dog anyway so in a corporate setting it probably doesn't do all that well.
  • RE: Businesses warming up to Apple iPhone

    Its a fun phone but its not a fully featured business phone so may penetrate the business sector but i doubt it will make headway unless they start focusing on business integration.

    But then that throws up its own drawbacks... would current commercial consumers still buy a more businesss integrated iphone, would/could they (Apple) cut themselves off from the very market that made the iphone a success?
    • So you never used one

      As the CEO of a company that has standardized on the
      iPhone from Blackberry, Please explain how the iPhone is
      "not a fully featured business phone." It interfaces with
      exchange natively whereas the BB needs additional software.
      The iPhone has a Unix OS and the BB (and Nokia) have PDA

      The development tools are extensive and great. Why do
      people comment on things they know nothing about?
      • Actually know something about

        While iPhone does use Exchange ActiveSync it does not support all of the ActiveSync features such as Tasks sync, nor can you create meetings from your iphone. It isn't to say the iPhone doesn't have great features and in many ways is "good enough" for many business purposes. It doesn't do everything the BlackBerry platform currently does. Secondly, your comment that the iPhone has a unix OS, and the BB and Nokia have PDA OSes makes you sound like you don't know anything about smartphone OS. Granted the UI on the iPhone is probably best in class, but simply building on Unix doesn't make one OS better than another. It can make development easier, but not better. There are other unix based OS available, and ALP from Palm will soon be available as well. So it should be interesting to see if that OS is comparable to iPhone.