The iPhone as Business Phone: Where We Stand

One of the hinderance to business users switching is as simple as you have a business account and that AT&T isn’t offering the iPhone as an option.

If you run a small business or have enough pull, it’s simple to switch. In fact, if anything, you might save your company money. A colleague found out he was on the $249 a month plan and since he was mostly talking to his own team (all on AT&T) and about 40% of America is with AT&T – and those minutes don’t count towards your bucket of minutes, he was really only using 600 minutes a month so switching to an iPhone account actually saved the company money. And he works for a Fortune 50 company so either they sent an idiot to negotiate with AT&T or there wasn’t even any negotiations … in any case, if you can, look into the details of your particular account … in this case, he’s going to save his company over $1,000 this year on his cell phone bill … maybe you can too.

But where do we stand after a month on the corporate/business side of a phone Gartner & others declared “scary?”

Um, surprise, not so much scary.

The one security issue is like every other Mac or iPod security issue, in a lab where you solder and pry the Apple device open and under certain conditions, it can be “hacked.” But once you unplug the wires and leave that room?

Like a moth, the scariest bug on Earth that you can kill with WATER.

It’s nothing outside the guy’s lab (or Symantec’s or McAfee’s).

Just in case you’re keeping track of actual, real world viruses and intrusions?:

(7 years) Mac OSX 35 million users: ZERO

(6 years) iPod: 110 million users: ZERO

(1 month) iPhone: a million users: ZERO

13 years of cumulative use of ZERO is a pretty good track record – especially in the last two years with pleading hysteria that the time must be now that some Apple device, any Apple device is doomed.

Maybe, hackers buy it with the intention of creating havoc but then after 5 minutes, just begin to think – this machine hasn’t locked up on me, maybe I’ll create a widget. Or if that guy can create an Apple mini-app, I can create 2 or 400

Gartner & Forrester’s hysterical weeping before the iPhone was even out is illogical in claiming that because you can’t install 3rd party apps, it’s MORE insecure. I have a feeling if the iPhone allowed third party apps to install, they would arguing precisely the opposite. Their main point is that email is insecure …

Except that as the WSJ points out, click a switch in Outlook will send forward your corporate emails or that most companies offer web based email access. (The WSJ article also points out 10 things your IT department would prefer you not know).

Of course, this pretty much sums up IT’s attitude, “Executives will ‘infect the enterprise.’ That’s how the BlackBerry got started,” OMG – someone wants to use new technology.

RUN FOR THE SERVER ROOM AND KEYCODE US IN!

But there are people working on solutions …

SYNCHRONICA

“Mobile Gateway for Enterprises: Push and Synchronization for email, calendar, address book, over the air, anywhere.” Test out getting your email on your iPhone here.

NETSUITE

ERP & CRM web based software/site already designed a SuitePhone for the iPhone.

VISTO

A mobile e-mail service provider – users can access enterprise e-mail systems, including Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino. Free demo and 60 days use here.

MORE TO COME

InfoBuilders (a business intelligence/Web-reporting software) users already have access using their iPhone and down the line, thinks the iPhone is the best mobile platform for viewing & accessing their reports.

COST TO OTHER SMARTPHONES?

From the PalmAddict site, the TCO for a iPhone is about $20 more than a Treo after 2 years in the most favorable comparison or the Treo is over $200 MORE than the iPhone in other scenarios.

And finally a real review by a real business user without a hidden agenda (InfoWeek) that covers issues of concern to business users and/or people used to other smartphones.

And of course, we covered the business gamut of apps that run online. They haven’t all been re-tested on the iPhone but web apps like Ta Da Lists is already an early favorite.

Of course, enterprise level web based solutions are going to pop up a little slower than everyday mini apps but it’s only logical as we move more software solutions online.

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4 Comments

Filed under Apple, Computing, iPhone, Media

4 responses to “The iPhone as Business Phone: Where We Stand

  1. My company uses “negotiated” AT&T for long distance and international with “corporate” discounts.

    News to the world: the “discounted” rates are several times what any consumer can get from many providers… including AT&T.

    (METROXING: I’m just saying it doesn’t hurt to re-check as my friend did …)

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