July 11, 2008
So Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) has released the new 3G-enabled iPhone, and with it the shiny new Apple App Store. That's where proud owners of a shiny, new next-generation iPhone go to download extra software, and also where third-party software makers can extend their reach into this presumably affluent demographic. If Apple itself won't go for the enterprise market, then maybe someone else can drag the Cupertino gang in there, kicking and screaming.
Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) is doing its part with a series of secure applications that connect to the company's business intelligence Web services. The iPhone 2.0 can grab and update this vital business data just as easily as the equivalent desktop applications, over an encrypted and secure connection. That's great news for salespeople and business managers who spend a lot of time on the road, especially if their clients expect them to wield a stylish smartphone.
It is also another thorn in the BlackBerry's side. That business-oriented communications gadget from Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) is starting to lose its uniqueness as the iPhone and various Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) models are getting features like the Oracle connectivity that used to be a defining attribute of the 'Berry. As cell phones continue to get more powerful, they can run an ever more diverse set of impressive software that used to require a specialized hardware platform. Apple is treating its users right by giving them access to these untapped treasure troves of mobile potential, and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) will up the ante with its even more open Android platform this fall.
While Oracle is among the first to dip its toes into these untested but inviting waters, it is hardly alone at the iPhone App beach. Business intelligence rival salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM ) has published iPhone versions of some of its most popular customer relations tools, and you can bet on a wealth of other business tools showing up soon. When Apple launched its iPhone developer community, the programming tool kit was downloaded 100,000 times the first week alone.
Watch out, Research In Motion, Apple is coming for you. And this time, it's bringing some friends to the party.