British Bank Replaces BlackBerry With iPhone


The iPhone is gaining credibility with the corporates, as a bank drops its Blackberries

A British bank has revealed that it is in the process of replacing its BlackBerry and making the iPhones its standard corporate communications device, in a move that could cause some concern for Research in Motion (RIM).

Apple warned back in January this year that its iPhone device is being increasingly used in the enterprise. Speaking during Apple’s Q1 earnings call, COO Tim Cook said that business use of the iPhone doubled since the release of the faster iPhone 3GS last summer.

Apple vindicated

Cook also said roughly 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies were testing or using iPhones as their corporate communications device, thanks largely to support for Microsoft Exchange.

Now Standard Chartered bankers in Asia told Reuters that the London-based lender was giving its corporate BlackBerry users the option of switching to the iPhone, with the bank agreeing to continue to pay monthly billing for business-related telephone and data services.

“It’s a group-wide initiative involving wholesale and consumer banks globally,” a Singapore-based spokeswoman for Standard Chartered, told Reuters. Apparently according to the spokeswoman the process of migrating corporate email services from the BlackBerry to the iPhone started about a month ago.

The spokeswoman was unable to say how many of the bank’s 75,000 staff used company-issued BlackBerries, or when the switchover could be completed.

Built For Business

The BlackBerry handset has enjoyed a virtual stranglehold on the business sector for a number of years now, and the news will not make welcome reading for RIM management.

But for the time being it still occupies the lion’s share of the business sector. Last year, Forrester found that using BlackBerry devices with RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server offered benefits from improved productivity to better regulatory compliance. But the analyst company also warned that some business workers prefered the iPhone to a BlackBerry because document viewing, WebEx presentations and Internet access were better on the iPhone.

Apple Facing Challenges

And Apple is not getting it all its own way. Recently, market researcher NPD Group for example found that Google Android had overtaken the Apple iPhone, and was now the second most popular smartphone OS in the United States, behind the BlackBerry phone. Apple however disputed the findings, calling the research report “limited”.

To be fair, other analysts have a different view compared to NPD. For example ComScore found that Android occupied 9 percent of the US smartphone market between December and February, while iPhone held a comfortable lead with 25 percent.

Apple is widely expected to release the widely publicised next generation iPhone 4G in June. The device, which suffered a number of embarrassing leaks, should be announced at Apple’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, along with iPhone OS 4, which promises new features such as multitasking.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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