iPhone Making Enterprise Inroads

Last Updated Sep 24, 2009 3:42 PM EDT

Based from the number of enterprise apps being adapted for iPhone usage, it's becoming clear that Apple's smartphone is making significant inroads into the enterprise space. Given the troubles Microsoft is having with Windows Mobile, Apple could well emerge as a serious competitor to Research in Motion, Palm and Nokia in the enterprise mobile device market.

Apple's snafus and missteps notwithstanding, application vendors are apparently convinced that the iPhone in the enterprise is a real phenomenon, and not just a marketing manager's fantasy. NetSuite, a vendor of on-demand software used by corporations to manage their businesses, recently paved the way for customers to run their applications over the iPhone and says "more than 1,000" of their apps were downloaded from the Apple App Store.

NetSuite applications aren't exactly fun. This isn't a case of people taking business calls on their iPhones while their BlackBerry devices connect to corporate email and other systems. These are people using their iPhones as miniature computers for business purposes.

Other business apps for the iPhone are also experiencing tangible successes. For instance, MeLLmo, which makes an application that redraws graphs and charts so they're more legible on the iPhone screen, has received a second round of financing (after having launched this spring). The company won't discuss revenue or download numbers, but told me it raised $4 million in the most recent round, bringing its total to $10 million since its inception. Safe to say that investors aren't throwing good money after bad, especially in the current economic climate.

Some analysts predict that the iPhone will eventually own 35 percent of the enterprise mobile market. The number seems high, but the momentum is clearly there.

  • Michael Hickins

    Michael Hickins has written about technology and business for BNET, InformationWeek, InternetNews.com, eWEEK -- where he was executive editor from 2007-2008 -- The Curator, Pseudo.com, Multex Investor, Reuters, and Conde Nast's WWD.com. Hickins is the author of The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing, a collection of short stories published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991. He also published Blomqvist, a picaresque novel set in 11th century Europe, in 2006. Hickins remains passionately interested in the intersections of business, technology, politics and culture, and endures a life-long obsession with baseball. He is married with two children and lives in Manhattan.