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Some executives and employees are leading the push to get their companies to adopt or support the iPhone.  (Source: CC Cristiano Betta)

Analyst predict RIM's business mobile phone share to shrink slightly in the next 3 years, and Microsoft and Apple to both grow business phone marketshare.  (Source: J. Gold Associates)

Apple offers Enterprise Hero and 200 other applications on its App Store. These applications are starting to stir up more interest in the business community.  (Source: Apple)
The business sector, long wary of Apple, is taking note of Cupertino's latest offering, the iPhone

Apple has shown terrific growth over the past decade after virtually collapsing in the early 90s.  However, one segment that it has never really been able to win back is the business sector.  Not since the days of Apple IIe's or further back has Apple really enjoyed strong business adoption.  And the business sector, consisting of everything from business laptops, to servers and business phones, is a huge revenue source so this was a big loss for Apple.

However, Apple's hottest gadget, the iPhone is finally starting to win Apple a following in the business community.

One big boost to the devices newfound corporate loving was the series of business friendly software programs for the iPhone 3G which was released in July.  However, even after this release, most businesses' top brass still prefer RIM's Blackberry to the iPhone. 

The real gains for the iPhone in business have been in fact forced by guerilla movements within companies by employees.  Top executives and younger users alike are finding themselves drawn in droves to the new device and while at first they may not look at it as a possible business tool, it’s starting to slip into their business lives.

A handful of companies, such as Genentech and Disney, mostly with ties to Apple, have decided to adopt the iPhone companywide as a communications tool.  Such decisions are not hurting Blackberry significantly, as they often come from companies that had not previously adopted a smartphone in mass.

The iPhone also has a ways to go.  Currently 65.5 percent of business support RIM phones, 22 percent that support Windows Mobile devices, and a mere 10 percent support the iPhone.  Some firms, like Los Angeles law firm Allen Matkins, still only support Blackberries as they say supporting the iPhone would be too expensive.  Says Allen Matkins CTO Frank Gillman, "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."

One major obstacle is Apple's reliance on only one carrier.  Many large companies have special partnerships with specific carriers which give them discounts, and often these carriers aren't AT&T.  Also, security and number of business applications on the device, while improved are still questioned.  Research firm Gartner gave the iPhone a “thumbs up” for businesses, but said these areas needed work.  A combination of the iPhone's Safari browser with security certificates can provide a fairly safe solution for document viewing on the go, however, with rising use this may be problematic as the Safari browser has shown itself to be easy to exploit in the past.

Apple does currently have 200 business-related programs on its App Store. Many businesses, though, feel uncomfortable installing iTunes on all their computers, when they're nervous enough about letting employees access standard news sites like ESPN.com, CNN.com, or DailyTech.com.

Apple has posted some impressive numbers, nonetheless.  Over 33 percent of the Fortune 500 participated in Apple's iPhone 2.0 software beta testing according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.  Increasingly companies are giving users the choice of several smartphones.  A perfect example of this is Chicago law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, which gives select employees a new AT&T smartphone of their choosing every 24 months.

Smaller, less restrictive businesses, according to observers, are the largest group of companies warming up to the iPhone.  Many businesses are adopting a philosophy that employees both at work and at home must mix productivity and fun, something the iPhone can do much better than some of its competitors.  Sonnenschein's CIO Andy Jurcyzk states, "Other devices are just hardcore e-mail devices, and even at that they don't render the messages well.  I travel a lot and it's nice to have a personal aspect to my life, to look at photos of the family, to listen to music, or watch a movie. It's nice to have that other stuff."

Some are predicting that the biggest competitor to the iPhone will be the Blackberry Storm, which debuts next week.  The Storm lacks Wi-Fi functionality, which the iPhone has, and has less memory than the iPhone, as well as a slightly less smooth touch interface, according to early reports.  However, the phone reportedly gets better reception, handles email better, is supposed to support copy and paste, supports video recording, and has an easily swappable battery.

Still, even against tough competition and a less than enthused overall business atmosphere, some businesses are warming up to Apple.  According to market researchers, both the iPhone and Windows smartphones should see a rise in subscriptions among business users over the next three years, while Blackberry subscriptions will dip slightly.



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Storm
By petschska on 11/16/2008 12:07:36 PM , Rating: 3
The Verizon Storm comes with an 8GB micro SD card with 1 GB embedded so I could argue that it has more memory.

8 Reasons why the Storm is better than the iPhone 3G:
http://www.cio.com/article/463019/RIM_BlackBerry_S...

The Storm has already been released by Vodaphone. Here's a review from a person who owns both a Storm and iPhone 3G:
http://forums.crackberry.com/f86/storm-review-ipho...




RE: Storm
By Hare on 11/16/2008 1:33:21 PM , Rating: 3
Nokia E71, nuff said...


RE: Storm
By Scott66 on 11/16/2008 1:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I noticed in his review there was no mention that the BB does not have WiFi.


RE: Storm
By Hare on 11/16/2008 2:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's just ridiculous. No voip-calls or easy access to the corporate intranet.


RE: Storm
By Myrandex on 11/16/2008 4:06:36 PM , Rating: 3
Leave it to Vzn to do something like this. I hear that they might do that with the HTC Touch Pro :-/ They do everything that they can to retard their phones. I'd take the Touch Pro over the Storm or the iJunk anyday.

Jason


RE: Storm
By michael2k on 11/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: Storm
By Hare on 11/16/2008 4:11:44 PM , Rating: 5
Let's compare to a Nokia E71

1) Wifi included and hsdpa (3.5G) and all gsm bands
2) No need for "stores" download apps from independent publishers. The device is open to use as a usb-memory etc. Not a walled garden where the device manufacturer decides what you can run and what you can't
3) Mac and PC compatible. Works as a usb-drive. Doesn't need iTunes
4) International hardware keyboard and localizations for just about every language there is.
5) No operator lock...
6) removable battery with ridiculous standby and call times.
7) unlimited memory due to microsd
8) full device encryption and remote administration + every enterprise feature imaginable.


RE: Storm
By Nekrik on 11/16/2008 6:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't need iTunes and Quicktime should be number one in my mind.

I find it odd that there is an article written on the iphone in the business place but it doesn't even address one of the number one issues, it lacks decent Exchange support. In many companies all these other points will be useless and not even considered until they have Exchange. They need to make a serious effort to make it a business tool and not rely on the complaints of the 'loyal iphone masses' who demand the phone be supported at their workplace, IT guys with a backbone won't cave in to the incessant whining.


RE: Storm
By Mitch101 on 11/17/2008 12:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
As an Exchange/Wireless messaging engineer I completely agree that the iPhone is not a business level device.

I don't know which is better at destroying a managers meetings/schedule the iPhones or Googles Gmail. But since neither device is a corporate approved option were off the hook. iPhones simply are not ready for corporate level material. I urge anyone who doesn't like their job to implement an iPhone on their CEO or day traders and watch how quick they lose their job especially when either loses their device.

On the brite side one could probably file for unemployment using an iPhone.

The iPhone is a very impressive an innovative device but it is not ready for the corporate environment.


RE: Storm
By robinthakur on 11/17/2008 7:04:16 AM , Rating: 2
I agree first of all. However, A number of our staff including Managing Directors all use iPhones and manage fine with the Active Sync capability. I don't think it will work for all users, but it works for some. Certaincly if we were to give these to traders I can see them sailing through the windows after they've got over how gorgeous they look and get frustrated with them. Mind you, the same would be the case with Wimo if we deployed that.

Apple have a tool which simplifies management of iTunes within business which we use and so far its not too bad, though could use some improvement. The ones that demand iPhones are already using them typically, we find. We support about 125 iPhones in the company, and so far there hasn't been the big need for support which we thought there would be. Blackberries still outnumber them 10-1 though.


RE: Storm
By afkrotch on 11/17/2008 1:13:12 PM , Rating: 2
Large corporate world, I just don't see the iPhone as competition against Blackberry devices. As others have mentioned, it's all about Exchange.


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