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Apple's iPhone SDK and the business halo effect

Apple on Thursday will unveil its long-awaited iPhone SDK and there are a lot of things we know already. But the real story will be told in the months to come.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Apple on Thursday will unveil its long-awaited iPhone SDK and there are a lot of things we know already. But the real story will be told in the months to come. Will the iPhone SDK kick off what some analysts call "a second halo effect" into businesses?

Kathryn Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a research note that Apple plans on using the iPhone to penetrate enterprise accounts (Techmeme). If the iPhone gets into the enterprise perhaps Macs will follow. Huberty notes:

We see the possibility of both software/security solutions as well as new customer wins at (the) iPhone announcement that will help validate the company's enterprise strategy.

Enterprise strategy? I didn't think Apple had one--or at least one it talks about. That's about to change though. Get ready for more of this line of thinking once Apple announces a more business-friendly iPhone. Of course, the details are yet to be determined, but one big item is that the iPhone will become friendlier with enterprise email systems. Apple will also note that iPhone is a SaaS-enabled weapon for corporations.

Meanwhile, it only makes sense that Apple would target businesses more given that the consumer could be on shaky financial ground. Consumers are still buying Apple products en masse, but wouldn't it make sense to hedge your bets a little?

A few key takeaways from Huberty's note, which is based on conversations with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer:

  • Apple has 170 U.S. and international commercial sales folks.
  • Apple is willing to discuss industry vertical wins in the oil and gas industries and government.
  • The company sees Boot Camp as a potential linchpin of corporate success.

Bottom line: Everyone will have his or her own take on the iPhone SDK. However, flaps with Adobe, iPhone enabled social apps and other sideshows may be just a diversion if Apple is serious about targeting businesses.

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