Apple Polishes iPhone for Business Market

Last Updated Mar 19, 2008 12:01 PM EDT

Apple's iPhone Enterprise program is drawing positive if cautious reviews. The beta initiative aims to allow corporate IT departments sample and experiment with iPhone 2.0 software before its general release.

The iPhone has scads of people in the business world using it, but mostly through consumer accounts. Apple wants to enhance that by encouraging IT professionals to integrate iPhones into their enterprise environments, including support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and industry-standard corporate security standards.

In other words, companies using Microsoft Exchange Server can turn to the iPhone 2.0 software for sending wirelessly company email, calendar events, and contacts over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks. Apple says the new software will also support VPN protocols and enforced security policies.

Research firm Gartner, which last summer warned IT departments from using the iPhone, came out in support of the iPhone 2.0. Analyst Ken Dulaney now says the new version "will open a huge volume of business users." But as Computerworld notes he still advises some caution as the inevitable kinks get worked out.

"Be cautious about generic access to back-end systems via VPN and the untested security model of a product that is new to market."
In short, observers are expecting the iPhone to put a strong foothold in the enterprise market, but not to run away with it right away. That leaves plenty of room for now for the Blackberry and other rivals.
  • Kevin Kelleher

    Kevin Kelleher writes a regular stock column at and is a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, and GigaOm. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor at Bloomberg News, Wired News, and The Industry Standard.