Enterprises Should Prepare as the iPhone Hits Big Numbers

Carl Weinschenk

The news that the iPhone outsold all the smartphones on the market in July (at least according to iSuppli) was perhaps inevitable considering the hype. It's also, more than likely, a sign of things to come. The Reuters piece says the Apple device represented a hefty 1.8 percent of all mobile handset sales.


Reuters says iSuppli classifies the iPhone as a "crossover" phone that competes against feature and smartphones. No matter how it is defined, iSuppli's iPhone numbers are impressive. The firm says the two available models sold more than the combined BlackBerry offerings, the entire Palm portfolio or any single smartphone from Motorola, Nokia or Samsung. The results for the Chocolate -- the most popular "feature phone" in the U.S. -- were equal to the iPhone.


iSuppli said the growth of the iPhone seems to be unprecedented in its history of following the sector; it said 4.5 million iPhones would be sold this year, and 30 million in 2011. Perhaps most impressively, iSuppli says a quarter of the people who bought the iPhone switched from their service provider to AT&T, which had dibs on the iPhone, to do so.


Clearly, the iPhone is doing well -- and it may soon be doing even better. A few months ago, Gartner vice president Kevin Dulaney advised enterprises to stay away from the iPhone until Apple takes step to make it a corporate product. There is reason to think that that may change. And even if it doesn't, consumer use will make the iPhone a factor in business anyway.


CNET reports on comments by Gartner research director Monica Basso that suggest a corporate iPhone may be near. There is nothing new in the story; the same concerns about what needs to happen for a secure and functional iPhone to be developed are outlined in the latter story. This suggests that, perhaps, Gartner has realized a corporate iPhone is going to happen and is repositioning itself. The only difference between Dulaney's earlier statements and Basso's is that she seems to think that Apple will take the plunge.


The Butler Group also suggests that the iPhone may end up being a corporate device. The driver may be the growing number of mobile workers who will find it useful. Butler may have a somewhat different perspective because it is based in the UK, where the device hasn't been released. The idea, says Butler research analyst Mark Blowers, is that users will push the iPhone into the enterprise. For this reason, enterprises must be prepared to secure the devices, even if they are not adopted via a corporate mandate.


The analysis is fairly consistent: So far, Apple has not made a play for enterprise acceptance of the iPhone. That may not matter, however, since mobility in the enterprise is a bottoms-up phenomenon driven more by the workers than corporate decisions. The best management can do is try to have some influence on events and make sure security is adequate.


This is a serious matter. Significant security issues surround the iPhone, and its great storage capacity means people are going to be toting around a lot of valuable data. The momentum iSuppli says the device is generating is a clear sign that businesses must be ready -- whether or not they give their employees the go-ahead.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 5, 2007 6:42 PM Herb Herb  says:
Until Apple addresses the outrageous prices for international roaming that AT&T charges there will be little Corporate support for this device. Reply

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