Thursday, February 28, 2008

The iPhone’s Business Makeover

Apple is taking steps to make the iPhone as business ready as the BlackBerry.


Apple’s iPhone roadmap for businesses

On March 6, Apple will announce an iPhone “software roadmap” for businesses. Apple is also expected to release a set of tools that will let developers write software for the iPhone, which could alleviate the fears of tech departments who feel the device isn’t appropriate for the workplace. (That’s the announcement Apple sent out today on the left, which may be the most blatant overture to businesses the company has made in recent times.)

It’s giving Apple too much credit to say it sees a business opportunity: It’s more like Apple is giving in to the masses who want to use the iPhone as a business tool. In fact, the iPhone seems to have single handedly un-starched collars in the normally uptight world of business technology. SAP, IBM, Sybase and a host of other stodgy, functionality-first companies are developing iPhone-friendly versions of their software. And they’re doing it with a joie de vivre we’ve never seen. The other day, an SAP exec we spoke to about the customer-management software his company is developing for the iPhone used the word “fun” five times in a half-hour interview.

Yet despite these endorsements, the iPhone is still persona non grata in some information-technology departments — it was only two months ago that Forrester Research put out a report titled “The iPhone is Not Meant for Enterprises.” IT departments are concerned about things like the iPhone’s lack of encryption and the inability to erase information on the device from a remote location. The tools Apple is expected to release will lead to software that will resolve all of these issues. Which means it’s just a matter of time until your tech department loses its best excuse for not giving you an iPhone.


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