Apple has said that business use of the iPhone has doubled in the last six months, with the majority of Fortune 100 companies now either testing or using iPhones
In news that will cause some concern for RIM and its BlackBerry device, Apple has said that its iPhone device is being increasingly used in the enterprise.
During the first quarter, Apple doubled the number of iPhones it sold compared to a year-ago, shipping 8.3 million units, all of which pushed the company to its $3.38 billion (£2.08 billion) profit.
But it seems that these devices have not all gone to the consumer market, as the success of the iPhone now apparently extends to the enterprise.
Apple COO Tim Cook said on the Q1 earnings call 25 January that business use of the iPhone doubled since the release of the faster iPhone 3GS last summer. Cook said roughly 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies are testing or using iPhones as their corporate communications device, thanks largely to support for Microsoft Exchange.
“Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you think that the time frame we’ve been in the business is only two and half years,” Cook said.
Maybe, but the iPhone still has miles to go to catch Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, whose keyboard-laden devices with secure virtual hooks into the enterprise through the vaunted BlackBerry Enterprise Server have made RIM the darling in enterprise mobility for giants such as IBM.
IBM just augmented its partnership with RIM. One year after RIM created a new BlackBerry client for IBM’s Lotus Sametime instant messaging application, RIM said it would sell BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Quickr and a new version of the BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Connections.
Those are the kinds of contracts that could serve the iPhone well in the corporate sector, and indeed IBM also just launched a Lotus Notes Traveler Companion plug-in to let iPhone users read their encrypted Lotus Notes email.
Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler said in an April 2009 research note that some business workers prefer the iPhone to a BlackBerry because document viewing, WebEx presentations and Internet access are better on the iPhone.
“As developers build new applications for SharePoint access, data analysis, multiway conferencing and training, the work force can leave their laptops at work,” Schadler noted.
“In this era of Technology Populism, where consumer IT is often better than enterprise IT, it sometimes just makes sense to give employees the freedom to choose the tools they want,” he added. “If an iPhone makes an employee happy, then supporting it will deliver collateral benefits of a happier work force and a new line of communication between IT and employees.”