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iPhone Exchange Policy

For months iPhone has been the coolest device on the street. Everyone wants one, but so far they have scared corporate IT managers who see them as a security hole in the network. But those IT managers have faced a growing problem over recent times: it’s called user pressure.

That’s because many iPhone owners are well-heeled business types who want to swap out their work Blackberry. However in most enterprises it’s difficult to exchange a Blackberry for a smartphone which doesn’t support Exchange.

Apple’s changed that now and kudos to them for listening to their customers. iPhone now supports push email, calendar and contacts from an Exhange Server via a licensed Microsoft ActiveSync client. iPhone’s user experience remains intact because email is handled by the cellphone’s regular email interface. Many of the industry’s security concerns have been addressed and there’s now a remote wipe facility.

Apple has also opened up the iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit) so third parties can write real applications for it. This means we could see virtual remote access clients from the likes of Citrix, VMWare and other companies to allow users to go straight into their office network. Who knows, maybe Microsoft will even release a version of Office Mobile for iPhone. The operating system is an optimized OS X with Touch enhancements to the Cocoa interface, so ports of regular Mac software could be coming soon.

iPhone is now a real contender in the corporate email battle and it could be the first Apple product to do well in mainstream US companies. Why? Not because it’s good to type on or has an established history (Blackberry and Windows Mobile win easily). No, it’s simply because users will want it. They will demand it, as they have been doing so far…the difference now is that IT departments can actually deliver a solution. Like Windows Mobile, that solution comes right out of the Exchange Server rather than routing through an additional Blackberry message server, so the service delivery has less infrastructure points of failure.

Of course just because the functionality exists doesn’t mean that companies will buy it. But if I was the head of RIM marketing I would be pretty scared right now. Apple clearly means business for the first time, and the users will be on their side. If they can get the pricing right then the competition is in for some tough years ahead.

Now where’s that iPhone drawing I was doing with the slide out keyboard…?

Click here to see if iPhone can survive a Maine Coon mauling.

Neil Berman
www.neilberman.com

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Mar 9, 2008 - Posted by | Apple, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile, News, Software | ,

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