Last week, direct comments from Microsoft executives termed the iPhone as "irrelevant" and unfit for business. For most of us, this was almost like stating the obvious. The iPhone is a multimedia device targeted towards a youthful market of music-driven iPod users, loaded with entertainment oriented features. The idea that Blackberry or Treo users wouldn't be replacing their devices with an iPhone sort of seemed like common sense.
Apparently, however, AT&T doesn't care what Microsoft or anyone else thinks. In an article released today by the IDG News Service, it was reported that AT&T plans to market the device directly business users as a business PDA.
According to the article, "[AT&T] is said to be now working to ensure its backend enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships, said a source familiar with the company's plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity."The idea of the device being appropriate for business users is confusing to many. For one thing, the device has only a touch screen. The idea of typing out large numbers of emails on a touch screen keyboard seems impratical. Additionally, the device has not been reported to offerÂ support for Microsoft Exchange email servers or other corporate "push" email.
Also, Apple has been clear that the iPhone will operate on a closed platform. Corporations work hard to integrate their applications with business mobile devices, a locked iPhone platform would prevent this. This points to other comments made by Microsoft. Last week, Microsoft's Asia-Pacific head of smartphone strategy, Chris Sorenson, told ZD Australia that the iPhone was destined for failure because of the inability for users to install applications on the device.
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According to the IDG article, analysts also point to the first-timer status of Apple in the phone market. Despite a solid reputation, making mobile phones is a notoriously difficult process, and analysts are extremely skeptical that many businesses would want to hang their hat on Apple's first venture into the market.