“In July 2008, when Apple officially released a version of iPhone software with beefed-up security and better support for corporate e-mail, Avaya gave employees the green light. Less than a year later, Avaya counts about 998 iPhone users out of about 9,800 who carry mobile devices,” Rachael King reports for BusinessWeek.

“Like Avaya, many U.S. corporations are embracing the iPhone after initial resistance. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry is still the leading smartphone for U.S. corporations, but the iPhone is gaining ground,” King reports. “In a survey of 127 large and midsize companies conducted by consulting firm Osterman Research on behalf of software provider Neverfail, 20% said they supported the iPhone in 2008, compared with 82% that supported BlackBerry devices and 66% that supported devices that run Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Yet, when asked which devices they planned to support in 2009, 44% of those companies said they’d support the iPhone. Support for BlackBerry dropped to 75% and for Windows Mobile to 64%.”

King reports, “Apple makes it easier for companies to reverse their iPhone opposition in part through upgrades to the software that make the device more business friendly. A version due in June, iPhone 3.0, will add security and management features expected to make it more attractive to large companies. ‘It’s too early for iPhone to be a serious competitor to BlackBerry in the enterprise, but a year from now it will be,’ says Ted Schadler, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester Research who on Apr. 14 published a report on iPhone use by enterprises. Schadler points to Oracle and Kraft Foods as two examples of companies that have made the leap. In January 2009, Oracle counted about 4,000 employees with iPhones in its global workforce of about 86,000. That same month, about 2,000 Kraft employees—almost half the company’s mobile users—carried iPhones. Schadler says that by the end of 2009, Kraft expects to have 4,000 to 5,000 workers using the device. That represents about 4% to 5% of its total workforce.”

“Much of the impetus for widening iPhone adoption in business comes from employees themselves… Executives say they like the iPhone’s Web browsing and multimedia capabilities as well as its ease of use. ‘IT won’t tell the CEO that they won’t support it,’ says Michael Osterman, principal at Osterman Research. This is reminiscent of the way BlackBerry made its way into corporations,” King reports.

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JES42” for the heads up.]