Network World: Why Apple’s iPhone matters so much (Does Apple need to license Microsoft Exchange?)

“With its picture gracing the cover of Time’s Nov. 12 ‘Best Inventions of 2007’ issue, the iPhone is undisputed as a technology product that matters to consumers. These days in IT that can mean only one thing — the enterprise is its destiny,” Robert Mullins reports for Network World.

“Just as instant messaging and Wi-Fi access migrated from the consumer to the enterprise environment, so too will the iPhone. User enthusiasm for the device, which made its grand debut on June 29, remains high. In a survey of 110 corporate messaging decision-makers, Osterman Research recently found the iPhone is by far the most-requested mobile device by employees. Seventy-two percent of the respondents say employees are asking for iPhone support,” Mullins reports. “The next most-requested device is the Palm Treo platform at 29%.”

MacDailyNews Take: The same 29% also requested some KC & The Sunshine Band, CB radios, platform shoes, pet rocks, Ford Pintos, an OPEC oil embargo, runaway inflation, and the immediate reinstatement of the Carter Presidency while asking in unison “What’s an iPhone?”

Mullins continues, “Suffice to say, the iPhone is a phenomenon that really matters to employees.”

“Nine percent of companies surveyed support the iPhone in their organizations. While small, that’s still impressive given the short time the iPhone’s been on the market, says Michael Osterman, president of the research firm. The iPhone stands to gain support in the enterprise from top executives who are early adopters of new technology,” Mullins reports. “‘They’ll go to the IT department and say, ‘I’m using an iPhone now. I need you guys to support it.’ I don’t know of many IT managers who are going to tell the CEO, ‘Sorry we don’t support that,” Osterman says.”

Mullins reports, “Apple would be wise to allow Microsoft’s Windows Outlook as one of those approved applications. In the Osterman survey, 85% of senior managers said on-the-road access to Outlook is ‘important’ or ‘extremely important.’ It’s also just as important to 73% of IT staff and 66% of salespeople… If Apple supports Exchange (the e-mail server that sends messages to the Outlook client program), IBM’s Lotus or other enterprise applications, that could convince more enterprises to support iPhone for their employees, Osterman says.”

Full article here.

Businesses have really shackled themselves to Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange, haven’t they? How is Apple supposed to “allow” Microsoft’s Outlook to be an approved application on iPhone when Microsoft refuses to even make Outlook for the Mac* which currently has about 16 times the user base of iPhone (≈25M vs. ≈1.5M)? (Keeping Outlook off the Mac platform is one of the many typical methods employed by MS to “persuade” businesses to stay with Windows rather than switching to the superior Mac.)

Do you think Apple needs to license Exchange from Microsoft for the iPhone to become (even more) successful in business?

*Microsoft used to make Outlook for Mac (Classic Mac OS), but it has never been updated for Mac OS X.

MacDailyNews Note: Switchers: Little Machines’ “Outlook 2 Mac” (O2M, US$10) makes it easy to move the Outlook folders from your PC to your Macintosh — import email, contacts, and calendar appointments into Apple Mail, Address Book, iCal, Microsoft Entourage, and other third-party programs. More info here.

50 Comments

  1. “‘They’ll go to the IT department and say, ‘I’m using an iPhone now. I need you guys to support it.’ I don’t know of many IT managers who are going to tell the CEO, ‘Sorry we don’t support that . . .”

    Unemployment means refusing to support the iPhone, bitch.

    Expect the number of cardboard signs that read, “W1ll w0rk 4 bandwidth” to suddenly rise in 2008.

  2. The Outlook or Exchange license is important so that Apple can develop a client to access the Exchange server.

    I have to use Exchange at work. But, I don’t want my work email on my iPhone.

    But, I think Apple should supporting all major mail servers and security methods required by mail servers.

  3. 2008 in a nutshell:
    1. “They’ll go to the IT department and say, ‘I’m using an iPhone now. I need you guys to support it.’ “
    2. IT department will provide them a Windows Mobile phone for a week with iPhone-looking buttons.
    3. CEO returns after 2 days and says it is awful and nothing like the iPhone they got for Christmas
    4. IT department reluctantly turns on IMAP or other support making CEO happy.
    5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 for the whole board.
    6. Impressed with the iPhone, the CEO buys an iMac.
    7. CEO goes to IT department and says, ‘I’m using an iMac now. I need you guys to support it.’
    8. IT department will provide him a Windows PC for a week with iMac-looking icons.
    9. CEO returns after 2 days and says it is awful and nothing like the iMac he just bought.
    10. IT department reluctantly hires IT staff with Mac as well as Windows experience, making CEO happy.
    11. Repeat steps 6 – 10 for the whole company.

  4. “Do you think Apple needs to license Exchange from Microsoft for the iPhone to become (even more) successful in business?”

    ____________

    Absolutely. It sucks, but it needs to be done. Without Exchange support, there is a very large majority of business users who cannot easily access their corporate email and that is most likely the single biggest deterrent keeping business users from the iPhone.

  5. Thanks for the correction MDN. I used to manage the production of all the Yellow Pages for PacBell. I was charged up to $25,000.00 for every mistake in an ad. The profit on an ad was around $5.00.
    Keep up the good work.

  6. Sorry MacDailyNews, but although the iPhone is a pretty decent device right now and many consumers enjoy it, it still can’t hold a candle to the Treo… at least until the iPhone SDK comes out & we will start seeing some real potential unlocked.

    In the meantime, we have FileMaker Mobile & Pocket Quicken both on our Treo syncing to our Mac. No, not a WEB VERSION of Quicken, but a mobile version of Quicken that actually SYNCS to our Mac. Can’t do that on the iPhone.

    Furthermore, we can send SMS messages to multiple recipients, we can send SMS messages with pictures, we have copy & paste functionality, we have the ability to expand our storage space with inexpensive SD Media cards, we have a replaceable battery, we can have unlimited SMS messages stored on our Treo (instead of the 1,000 SMS limit on the iPhone), we have a true business-class email client with SnapperMail, we have about 10 other 3rd-party programs & games on our Treo (WITHOUT hacking our phone), we can look up a contact’s name with just 2 key presses on the keyboard, we have a real keyboard.

    None of these things are on the iPhone.

    The Treo is still the smartest cell phone out there, with the iPhone running a close second for those who need less options in a phone right now.

  7. Or, what’s more likely to happen, is that IT will give the CEO one of 3.9 million Blackberries sold by beleaguered RIM last quarter, because the Blackberry is a true business device that properly supports Exchange, Domino and GroupWise.

    When the iPhone does that we’ll certainly support it too.

  8. Well, my company is so security conscious they are dropping Blackberry support in 2008. Maybe that signals a move toward other technologies, but they still insist that the iPhone will not be supported.

    The fact is that most companies use Exchange. If you want your contacts, calendars and email synced with your corporate server, you’re screwed because chances are they are not going to toss out Exchange.

    This also begs a good question – if you are syncing your iPhone with Exchange, what happens to your ability to sync that same phone with iCal or Address Book? Does that disappear? I think those apps may already be Exchange-compliant, but do you really think you are going to get your IT departments to support that as well (even if it’s possible)?

    I think we’re a long way from being free from Exchange, just like we’re a long way from being freed of the shackles of MS Office. That’s reality. If enterprise customers want iPhones (which is evident) then it will be up to BOTH Apple and individual IT departments to make full-blown exchange syncing a reality.

    One more thing: There are workarounds for email. If you have Outlook Web Mail at work, Google “Synchronica” and sign up for that service. It works with webmail and totally syncs your iPhone email with your work email. So far it’s worked for me with few problems. I believe the service is free for now so check it out.

    Regards,
    FM

  9. @HolyMackerel

    I don’t think you’ll see much of items 2,3,7,8. IT departments don’t tell CEO’s what to use if they want to keep their jobs very long.

    2008 in a nutshell:

    2. IT department will provide them a Windows Mobile phone for a week with iPhone-looking buttons.
    3. CEO returns after 2 days and says it is awful and nothing like the iPhone they got for Christmas

    7. CEO goes to IT department and says, ‘I’m using an iMac now. I need you guys to support it.’
    8. IT department will provide him a Windows PC for a week with iMac-looking icons.

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