SAP’s CIO Customers Won’t Do Business on iPhone

Mobility

The Apple iPhone is not a business tool, according to CIOs speaking at a SAP software launch. Despite burgeoning iPhone sales, executives from IBM, healthcare company Roche and others are backing BlackBerry.

The CIOs went off-script at a press conference promoting the the new SAP Business Suite 7 software, saying that the iPhone is not a good email tool.

“We’ve put email onto iPhones,” Jennifer Allerton, CIO of Roche’s pharma division, said in response to an audience question. “But it has a soft keypad, and we’re an e-mail-intensive culture … [We’ve] viewed them as not a business tool.”

Léo Apotheker, co-CEO of SAP, followed up by noting that SAP offers CRM software for both BlackBerry and iPhone, but “we see more interest in the BlackBerry.”

Apple and RIM have been engaged in fierce competition for consumers’ smartphone budget, with RIM maintaining a slight lead in global smartphone market share.

“CIOs like to control and lock things down more, and BlackBerry provides that,” said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates in an interview. “If you look at the two markets as overlapping, BlackBerry has a more solid franchise in the enterprise and Apple has a more solid franchise among consumers.”

Kay added, “But Apple has come into the enterprise [via] executives who just want to use it. It was inevitable that the top guys would pester their CIOs to get them iPhones.”