iPhone Takes the Enterprise? Bet On It.

So, Dave Mock has a point in his article from yesterday. Two, actually:

  1. Enterprises won't adopt Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone just because it is a hit with consumers.
  2. IT managers, who loathe change, have no specific financial reason to replace existing devices with the iPhone.

Touche, sir.

Not that I'm surprised. I've never known Dave to be anything less than whip-smart. On this topic he's right, in that when you get IT managers alone, they'll tell you that budget planning is entirely pain-driven. Spend the cash where you're hurting most, the thinking goes.

What this means is that corporate technology buyers never, ever seek The Next Big Thing. Rather, they prefer The Next Thing That's Not Going to Get Me Fired. Apple is too rebellious for this crowd. Or at least it was.

Let's review what we know about the latest iPhone and Apple's direction.

First, while it's true that, here in the U.S., you must be an AT&T (NYSE: T  ) customer to use an iPhone, there's ample evidence that Apple wants to give you more options. Second, faster 3G service creates more opportunity for iPhone users who like doing business on the go. Third, a lower price and support for Exchange is designed to appeal to cost-conscious corporate buyers who prefer not to disrupt the IT infrastructure they've built.

And finally, we know that users, investors, and partners see the iPhone in a broader context than they do smartphones from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) . They view it as a platform for business.

NetSuite (NYSE: N  ) , for example, initiated support for its online business software via Safari when the iPhone was first introduced. Legendary venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers has a $100 million iFund to encourage developers to write software for the device.

My point? Innovation is the only constant in tech. So even though corporate buyers have no urgent reason to switch to the iPhone, it's almost certain that an enterprising developer will create one.

But that will take years. In the meantime, the iPhone will catch on at corporations for the same reason that other popular mobile devices did -- because executives and employees bring them to work.

Brrrrrrrrring! It's related Foolishness calling:

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Fool.com contributor and Rule Breakers writer Tim Beyers is charging his iPhone right now. He owned shares of Nokia at the time of publication. You can find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog entry here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy isn't here right now. Please leave a message at the tone. Beeeeeep.


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  • Report this Comment On June 18, 2008, at 4:48 PM, stockgaucho wrote:

    Great article... So many Apple bears it is becoming disgusting! Apple iPod may become obsolete... which would be testament to just how powerful the company is... sell millions of fashionable devices and create a new device which makes the previous one obsolete! :) Thanks for the write up.

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