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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?


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Friday, March 07, 2008

iPhone Gets a new Outlook on life...


Back in April of 2006, I said this:


Not only have studies predicted the potential sale of an additional one million machines (22% increase in sales, 80% increase in market share) [if Apple could run Windows natively], but these studies don't even address the corporate market. If the architecture on these machines is pure (i.e,. the Windows environment is an exact duplicate of what you'd find on a Dell or Compaq machine), I believe Apple can expect to quickly capture some portion of the much larger, and more sustainable, corporate PC market.

And now, almost a year later, we have this:


Apple on Thursday unveiled a list of upcoming features, including support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, that Apple hopes will convince corporations to adopt the iPhone as the device of choice for mobile workers.

During a news conference at the computer maker's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs promised that the iPhone in its upcoming software update in June would contain "the long list of important features that enterprise customers have told us they need to really drive iPhone use."

The list included the ability to push e-mail and calendar items from servers to the iPhone, synchronize contact lists, and enforce security policies. In addition, the iPhone would support Cisco's client for secure connections to an IP-base virtual private network, and would have technology that a company could use to remotely wipe out data on a lost or stolen iPhone.

One of the most requested corporate features is support for Exchange, Jobs said. To meet the demand, Apple licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol for connecting the iPhone's e-mail client directly to an Exchange server. As a result, e-mail, calendaring and contact items can pushed directly to the smartphone, a feature that Apple demonstrated at the event.

This is huge. Not only has Apple finally thrown its hat into the ring with Dell, HP, and others for the corporate desktop, they've now entered into the much faster growing, much more dynamic corporate handheld market. Who's going to buy a Blackberry when they could have an iPhone that does all the same things and more?

The article also says that Apple is releasing a SDK for enterprises to build their own iPhone applications. This allows companies to brand their own access, implement their own additional security features, etc., essentially removing many of the possible excuses for not buying the product. And since a WindowsMobile device has yet to take hold in this space, the issue of "standard software architecture" has not yet been achieved on handhelds, forcing corporate IT departments to support heterogeneous environments (i.e., RIMM running on their Exchange servers).

The only downside is price. iPhones are much more expensive than Blackberry's right now, but as the volume increases dramatically, the cost will decrease. And when people start getting them at work, the cost/features of the backend network & data plan will become less of an issue. Witness how many people have Blackberries that they pay for themselves. Almost no one. QED.

It's refreshing to see Apple play the game in front of them, rather than constantly insisting that the game is unfair, or that the rules ought to change. I think this is going to be huge...

posted by Brian at 4:19 PM


2 Comments:

  • It's refreshing to see Apple play the game in front of them, rather than constantly insisting that the game is unfair, or that the rules ought to change.

    I'd like to see one quote from Apple Corporate that you think justifies this statement.

    Re the SDK: under the hood, there are still lots of restrictions as to what you can do with an iPhone. It's not the case that the iPhone is a general-purpose computer, or that it's likely to be. That said, given the enterprise's general interest in locking every gadget down six ways from Sunday to keep it from doing anything useful, I suspect they'll be thrilled with this.

    Completely disagree with you that price is a factor. $500 for a phone/PDA/communicator, before you even get into volume discounts, is diddly compared with a) the monthly costs of maintaining the account, and b) the huge bump in worker satisfaction you'll get from shipping your employees the hottest toy on the market.

    Finally -- Windows Mobile has not "yet to take hold". Unless they've got some spectacular upgrade in the works, the issues with the OS are such that there's no way it's going to take over a dominant position. People don't accept phones that crash. That's what done in both Windows Mobile and the Treos. Linux had a shot at this, if any company could have shipped a UI that Just Worked, but I think they've blown it too.

    By Anonymous Jeff Porten, at 8:05 PM, March 15, 2008  


  • I'd like to see one quote from Apple Corporate that you think justifies this statement.

    Seriously?

    Exhibit 1: Just about every "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercial, where they claim that the O/S that more than 80% of the world uses doesn't work. And if that's too subjective for you, there's this and this and this and this. And that's just from searching my own blog - I didn't even approach Google...

    That said, given the enterprise's general interest in locking every gadget down six ways from Sunday to keep it from doing anything useful, I suspect they'll be thrilled with this.

    I think you just suggested that the Blackberry isn't useful in the enterprise space. To that, I'm struck speechless, except maybe to point you to this, which highlights their 40% marketshare in the US, in an industry dominated by the Symbian conglomerate worldwide. And I only do that because I'm about to point you to it again in 10 seconds...

    Completely disagree with you that price is a factor. $500 for a phone/PDA/communicator, before you even get into volume discounts, is diddly compared with a) the monthly costs of maintaining the account, and b) the huge bump in worker satisfaction you'll get from shipping your employees the hottest toy on the market.

    WHAT?!?!?!? My Blackberry cost my employer $89. Even if we assume a 10% discount, that's a savings of around $350 per device right now (or roughly 70%). Assuming roughly 150,000 blackberries at my company (a complete guess on my part), you're talking about 54 MILLION DOLLARS. And that's just to buy a new one for everyone. With people joining & leaving the firm, not to mention the normal depreciation of assets which causes folks to upgrade/replace their devices roughly every 3 years, you're talking about spending more than $15 million every year, just to keep people "happy with the hottest toy." As for the monthly cost of maintaining an account, everyone in the company (and in most companies) has an Exchange account anyway, so that's a sunk cost. It costs precious little to maintain an e-mail account on the blackberry, over & above the cost of maintaining it on the PC desktop.

    Finally -- Windows Mobile has not "yet to take hold". Unless they've got some spectacular upgrade in the works, the issues with the OS are such that there's no way it's going to take over a dominant position. People don't accept phones that crash. That's what done in both Windows Mobile and the Treos. Linux had a shot at this, if any company could have shipped a UI that Just Worked, but I think they've blown it too.

    OK, now you're just making stuff up. Take a look at that chart again. Globally, there are around 5 million Linux phones out there, and roughly 3 million Windows mobile phones (almost dead even with the Blackberry). Put another way, both Blackberry and Microsoft have about 10% of the global marketshare and Linux has about 15%. And in North America, where the vast majority of enterprise users are, Microsoft's market share is around 25%, putting it just behind Blackberry, who has something like a 40% share. Linux has less than 5% of the North American (read: enterprise) market. Not bad for a couple of companies that have, in your estimation, "blown it."

    You'll note also that Apple has caught (or possibly even overtaken) Microsoft for the #2 slot in North America without selling a single phone in the enterprise space. Hence my comment about this being huge news for Apple, hence Apple's 2% bump in share price in the day they announced, hence the enterprises that have signed up to be pilot users on the first day.

    As to "People don't accept phones that crash," that just puts you squarely in the camp of people who criticize the Windows platform having never used it for any length of time, which makes it another quote that justifies the statement at the top of your comment. Of course, you're not Apple corporate, so I guess that doesn't count...

    By Blogger Brian, at 11:05 AM, March 16, 2008  


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