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Major businesses are jumping to board the iPhone ship due to its powerful and flexible nature, despite flaws

Watch out Blackberries -- there's a new business phone in town; that's the growing message being perceived by the business community.  The phone to which the buzz is refers is the iPhone, which may or may not being surprising to some.

The TIME invention of the year, it turns out, is not just all fun and games.  It’s easy to use interface, full featured web-browser, jumbo color screen and flexible OS base also make the iPhone an ideal business tool, according to a growing number of software and marketing firms.  Okay, so maybe part of it is the "fun appeal", but the iPhone knows how to find that ideal mix of work and play.

"It's fun.  It's so popular!" raved Mike de la Cruz, a senior vice president with German software giant SAP AG, at a recent business conference in Boston.

SAP, Inc, and many other software firms are embracing the iPhone and are allowing their sales and finance employees work away from the office using the iPhone.  So if you see a well dressed business man in a New York City street cafe, furiously scrolling through charts of sales figures, don't be surprised -- he's probably just one of the growing hoards of iPhone-embracing workers.

The popularity and utility of the device has led SAP to change course and announce that it will launch its customer relationship management software for the iPhone before it launches similar software for RIM and Palm Inc.  The move is by no means a snub to the latter, but rather a statement on SAP's part of the potential it feels the iPhone holds for bringing great things to the business world.

While the iPhone is popular due its fun appeal and easy to use, it still has several weaknesses holding it back in terms of business potential, however.  One feature that is lacking is the email capabilities.  The iPhone supports standard corporate email but does not support "Push" capabilities, and must be docked with a computer to update calendars or contacts.  Also the iPhone does not support business stalwart Microsoft Outlook, and licensing the Exchange base of Outlook would require some awkward negotiating on Apple's part with the arch-rival it so enjoys poking fun at.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research thinks such a partnership is not impossible.  He points to how Apple worked out an agreement with Microsoft to allow the iPod to be compatible with Microsoft Windows, and the great success the move yielded.  He says, "What really made the iPod take off was when they made it compatible with Windows. So if they made the iPhone compatible with Windows e-mail, meaning Outlook, that would really make sales take off."

Another complaint is that the phone's EDGE network connection is simply too slow.  This problem at least will be remedied in 2008, as AT&T executives have confirmed that faster 3G is on the way, only awaiting Steve Jobs' price point decision. 

Other complaints include Apple's locking of the iPhone to the AT&T network and the lack of a physical keyboard, which many executives have griped about off the record.  While Apple is unlike to reverse its network policies, a keyboard or new typing solution may be in the works.

Despite posting sales of 1.12 million iPhones in its fiscal fourth quarter, the phone is by no means dominating the business phone market, despite growing interest.  RIM shipped 3 million of its Blackberry phones in its second quarter, which ended at approximately the same time.  Also, these figures to not do proper justice to the fact that most Blackberries sold were for business users, while most iPhones sold were for recreational users.

Still, some businesses are warming up to the trendy iPhone and showing it a bit of cautious love.  Apple's moves in coming months will likely determine whether this trend continues and if the iPhone will be a business blockbuster or just another flop.

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iphone vs. tilt
By JoshuaBuss on 12/19/2007 11:47:40 AM , Rating: 4
I've played with both the iphone and the new tilt from AT&T and frankly, I don't understand why anyone would want the iphone with such an amazing device as the tilt out..

things the tilt has the iphone doesn't:
a little narrower and shorter
GPS !!
a physical keypad I can use without looking at the screen
removable storage!
removable battery!
stylus for more accurate tapping
'soft' keys on the front for more accurate ui navigation.. especially with 1 hand
full blackberry support
fully 3rd party friendly OS with TONS of free applications..
full text messaging and instant messaging
works with NORMAL headphones just fine :)
a much better camera with video capability

things the iphone has the tilt doesn't:
a little thinner
a little prettier
flashier UI
..uh... ?

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By JoshuaBuss on 12/19/07, Rating: 0
RE: iphone vs. tilt
By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 2:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
UI is alot.

Most smartphones made for the past 2 years from Blackberry, Palm, HTC, and any of the many other winmobile devices has a lot better feature set, but the UI are so aweful it makes people hate to use them.

The iPhone UI is not just better is is freegin revolutionary in a HUGE way.

I really dont like Apple, or thier products, or thier attitude, but we all owe them a standing ovation for raising the hell out of the UI/useability bar. Once the real phone manufactureres catch up it will be interesting.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By Souka on 12/19/2007 3:30:01 PM , Rating: 3
point of article is about iPhone and Business....

What business would even bother with the device if you have to dock the phone with a comptuer to update email, contacts, calendar.

I work with Blackberries and PDA phones at my compnay... not having real time communications is rediculous...hence, no iPhones.

But.... once the iPhone can sync with Exchange 03/07, I'm sure I'll be working with iPhones soon enough...


RE: iphone vs. tilt
By JoshuaBuss on 12/19/07, Rating: 0
RE: iphone vs. tilt
By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 5:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
expandable yes, but nothing near the iPhone. Its just not capable of it.

Picture 2 years from now, when either Apple catches up with features, and/or other makers catch up with the UI. We will have some really great cheap smartphones.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By augiem on 12/19/2007 12:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
The ONLY thing the iPhone has that is better than everything else out there is the web browser.

I couldn't believe how pathetically slow the LG Voyager's browser was. Scrolling across a page was literally going a frame/2-3 seconds.

I'm personally waiting to upgrade my 3 year old cell phone until one of these REAL smart phones has a good, fast, fully-rendered, web browser. Connection speed aside, that is, because they all suck in that regard.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By FITCamaro on 12/19/2007 1:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. The browser is excellent for a mobile device(the PSPs seems to be just as good but its not a phone).

If they put it on Verizon's service, I'll get one. But I'm not using AT&T. Or any US-based GSM company for that matter. T-Mobile isn't any better than AT&T.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By Shlong on 12/19/2007 2:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think the iphone is also much better in photo gallery & as a media player (music / video) than the other products. The cover flow is nice to look at & use.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By isorfir on 12/19/2007 4:23:14 PM , Rating: 3
The ONLY thing the iPhone has that is better than everything else out there is the web browser.

And yet it's browser is worthless for most websites. No Flash or Java support? "Not watered down internet" my ass.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By jonnybradley on 12/20/2007 4:46:36 AM , Rating: 2
Have you tried opera mini. I use it on an ol Nokia 5410i and its great even on that tiny secreen

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By Vanilla Thunder on 12/19/2007 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to have conveniently omitted from your list the fact that that iPhone has WiFi and the Tilt doesn't. This, in my opinion is one of the major selling points of this phone. Plus, everything I've read on the GPS capabilities of the Tilt say not to even bother. To each their own...


RE: iphone vs. tilt
By JoshuaBuss on 12/19/07, Rating: 0
RE: iphone vs. tilt
By Vanilla Thunder on 12/19/2007 5:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
I would rate myself down if I could. I was completely confusing the Tilt with another handset.



RE: iphone vs. tilt
By Wightout on 12/19/2007 1:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know many companies that would need GPS on the phone, and that doesn't do much for the battery...

I would think that the locked down nature of the system is a major selling point for it as well, not nearly as many things can go wrong with it when the options are relatively limited. A company would need a smaller support team for it as a result.

The browser is the best one out atm for a phone type platform.

You may disagree, but those are my two cents.

RE: iphone vs. tilt
By FITCamaro on 12/19/2007 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know many companies that would need GPS on the phone

If you think about it, probably a lot of people who are given company phones travel. So GPS is handy when traveling if you don't know the area you're traveling to.

Apple can shove it
By zsdersw on 12/19/2007 11:53:56 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not even going to consider buying an iPhone until or unless it can be had from more carriers than just AT&T.

The shenanigans involved with updates and hacks to make it work with other carriers sealed the deal, as far as I'm concerned.

Apple.. you can take your AT&T-only iPhone and shove it.

RE: Apple can shove it
By iVTec on 12/19/2007 12:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
A friend of mine has an unlocked iPhone which works fine with Greek providers...Just unlock it and write in your hand "must not use Apple updates"...:P Just in case u forget it..

RE: Apple can shove it
By zsdersw on 12/19/2007 2:20:36 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose, but I don't trust Apple (or any cell phone maker, for that matter) to make a product that doesn't need updates.

RE: Apple can shove it
By omnicronx on 12/19/2007 12:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
This is an article about business's adopting the iphone. Who cares what your personal feelings towards them are. Unless of course you are a company exec, that gets to make these kind decisions.

RE: Apple can shove it
By zsdersw on 12/19/2007 2:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get to determine what can and cannot be posted here. I'll post my personal opinions about the product at issue whether you like it or not, or whether you care about my opinions or not.

I'm under no obligation to satisfy you .

RE: Apple can shove it
By Wightout on 12/19/2007 2:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
So by your same logic one can say YOU can shove it along with your opinion... I am in no obligation to satisfy you am I? But people do ask that you try and stay somewhat on topic, no? And thusly the person you replied to has a bit of a point, whether you decided to accept it or not...

RE: Apple can shove it
By zsdersw on 12/19/2007 2:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
A story about iPhones.. and my comments on the iPhone.. aren't "somewhat on topic" to you?

I couldn't care less whether you satisfy me or not.

Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 2:30:20 PM , Rating: 3
"Also the iPhone does not support business stalwart Microsoft Outlook, and licensing the Exchange base of Outlook would require some awkward negotiating"

The entire business world (other than a very small fraction) uses MS-Exchange, or RIMM's blackberry service. To be even considered by most business they will have to support one or the other.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By johnsonx on 12/19/2007 2:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
They just need to allow 3rd party apps. Other push e-mail solutions (such as Nokia's Intellisync Server) generally rely on adding one or more apps to the device; I imagine Nokia is already working on adding the iPhone to Intellisync Server (and by extension GroupWise Mobile Server), and is only waiting on the ability to add their sync app to the device.

Oh, and while I don't have numbers to back it up, I doubt the fraction of companies that use something other than MS-Exchange is "very small"; it's probably less than 50%, but not "very small". There are millions of Novell GroupWise and Lotus Notes users out there in the corporate world. Hence why Blackberry Enterprise Server comes in Exchange, GroupWise and Lotus flavors.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 3:10:15 PM , Rating: 2
yup... I said "uses MS-Exchange, or RIMM's blackberry service"
meaning, anything that is compatible with BB.

They need to be able to use these formats to get any foothold at all on business users. IF they do, the iPhone becomes a major player.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By johnsonx on 12/19/2007 3:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I suppose if they could license Blackberry's push client so corporate iPhone users could just do 'Enterprise Activation' like on a regular Blackberry, and use it with BES, that would be MAJOR. Won't happen though. RIM wouldn't license it for any amount that Apple could afford. Likewise RIM certainly isn't going to do it on their own; if they were willing to write BES push clients for other devices, they would have done it already for Windows Mobile devices.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By Master Kenobi on 12/19/2007 6:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft isn't going to let iPhones interface like a Windows Mobile device on Exchange server either. Getting iPhone to work on a corporate email service right now is bollocks. Plus there is no remote wipe capability that we have on BES and Exchange.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 10:43:09 PM , Rating: 1
MS doesn't need to, its already allowed. Its an open interface. Any company that uses exchange, can enable EAS (exchange active sync) and use anything they want to use. Its the same protocal that outlook web access uses. Palm has been using it for years.

If EAS in enabled a companies email users can

1. Get web access to email through any browser anywhere via outlook web access
2. Use any mobile device that can access the same protocals.

RE: Major obstacle for business users to adopt
By jtesoro on 12/20/2007 4:32:40 AM , Rating: 2
While on the subject of allowing or not allowing anything, I don't understand the statement in the article which said:

Apple worked out an agreement with Microsoft to allow the iPod to be compatible with Microsoft Windows, and the great success the move yielded.

What sort of agreement is needed to write an application for Windows? There isn't any license needed for these kinds of apps as far as I know so what's the deal?

By retrospooty on 12/20/2007 2:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
In this case, I am sure "compatible" just mean that the device drivers/ sync interface software is "WHQL" compliant. In other words, load iTunes for windows and you can sync to the iPod/iPhone.

By daftrok on 12/19/2007 12:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
If the iPhone can run Windows Mobile 6 then it will sell LIKE MAD. If you want a fully capable smart phone than this is the logical path to take.

By Chaser on 12/19/2007 1:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't hold your breath.

By retrospooty on 12/19/2007 10:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
The iPhone is a useless POS without its OS. Its OS and more importantly UI are its only strong points (other than good LCD)

Put Windows Mobile 6 on it and its just another nameless phone with a 2 year old feature set. Also, Windows Mobile 6 sucks rocks, badly, why on earth would anyone want that on an iphone?

Apologies in advance...
By Moose1309 on 12/19/2007 1:28:44 PM , Rating: 4
But I just can't resist proofing the article a bit

"The phone to which the buzz is refers is" - Omit the first "is." Or better yet, change to an active tense sentence.

"It’s easy to use interface"
It's = contraction of it is
Its = possessive

"he's probably just one of the growing hoards of iPhone-embracing workers"
hoard = n. stash; secret supply. Or, v. to squirrel something away
horde = large group, swarm. One person is not a horde

"While Apple is unlike to reverse" unlikely

I actually
By Merry on 12/19/2007 11:45:12 AM , Rating: 2
Got to play with an iphone the other day and I was most impressed. The web browser works well, i liked the on-screen keyboard, and while I wouldnt say it was necessarily as brilliant as people make out, I would like to own one.

Provided they took £70 of the price that is....

By mchentz on 12/19/2007 1:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well the company I work for (250,000 employees) does not use AT&T. Thank god. So this company will not be using the Iphone

Non analyst
By thethirdshoe on 12/19/2007 4:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
On the Shaw Wu guy.
Did that joker really say "agreement with Microsoft to allow the iPod to be compatible with Microsoft Windows"
You don't have to have an agreement with microsoft to write software for windows. Every time someone makes a new hard drive, monitor or usb device, they do not need microsofts permission.
He sounds like he does not know what he's talking about. Makes you wonder what he does know... Run away, Run away!

Uh yeah
By WileCoyote on 12/19/2007 7:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, has anyone here used a Pocket PC phone and an iPhone for business? Because if you haven't, you're not qualified to compare the two.

As a business owner, I've used both (3 different Pocket PCs over 3 years and then switched to the iPhone) and although the Pocket PC looks good on paper, the phones are absolute crap. Yes, they have lots of great features but most of them don't work well. The phones would constantly crash, lose data, have synching issues, slow to a crawl, etc. Every day it was something new. Every night, when I plugged my phone into the charger, I would pray it worked the next day. All my customers with Pocket PC phone had similar problems, especially with synching.

The iPhone has been rock solid and a great business tool. And NO SYNCHING ISSUES.

That's what it comes down to - reliability. I would never rely on a Pocket PC for my business again but a business can count on iphones to work.

Iphone vs windows mobile
By lparkin on 12/19/2007 9:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
My experience has been that windows mobile 5 and 6 far surpass all the other operating systems. The company I work for has moved everyone to those operating systems. We will not even buy a treo with palm OS only windows. I have been running it for a couple years and it beats everything else. I would entertain the thought of an iphone only when they get a faster connection and push capabilities. Edge just doesn't cut it. I am currently using an HTC TyTN and couldn't be happier. It is a very functional touch screen phone. And yes, I would get the tilt for the GPS.

Watch out Blackberry?
By Domicinator on 12/20/2007 8:35:06 AM , Rating: 2
Are you serious? My company uses Blackberries, and they are WORLDS better than the iPhone for business applications.

Jason Mick, get over yourself. You know that top 15 list you made fun of Vista for being on? The iPhone was on that list too!! And guess what: So was Leopard!!! Didn't read the rest of the article did you?

Enterprise Security Needs?
By InfoSec13 on 12/20/2007 11:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
I am a little suprised that the article does not mention enterpise business security concerns related to these types of devices. Some companies require devices, which are capable of storing sensitive data, to be controlled by an enterprise management systems with centrally controlled security policy enforcement. Blackberry Enterprise provides this to RIM devices and meets the criteria but even Blackberry Connect devices are not able to be controlled centrally and therefore are prohibited in many cases. The Apple iPhone is far from supporting an enterprises security needs along with most of the other devices.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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