AT&T to Reportedly Target iPhone to Enterprises

AT&T Incorporated, formerly (or so AT&T hopes) known as Cingular, plans to market the iPhone to business users and is now working hard to ensure that its backend enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships. At least, if you believe an anonymous source familiar with the company's plans. An AT&T spokesman would not confirm such claims.

The idea of marketing the iPhone as an enterprise product baffles some analysts. The iPhone is expected to have a number of shortcomings for business users, said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner. For example, the phone has multiple processors, which consumes more battery life – and yet it doesn't have a removable battery. "You'd be crazy to buy without that." It also comes with a touch screen and no buttons, making it difficult for users to dial while driving, he noted. Avi Greengart, principal analyst for mobile devices at Current Analysis, was told by Apple that enterprises won't be able to write applications for the phone. "Companies like to extend corporate apps to the mobile space and in order to do that you need an open OS." Mobile operating system developers like Windows, Symbian and BlackBerry enable third parties to write applications based on their software. Since the iPhone isn't available yet, there's a chance that it could launch with applications that might appeal to business users, but Greengart said he'd be surprised if it did.

News source: PC World

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In my experience, it is often the case that the highest ranking execs don't use their BB (huge backlog of unread messages left on the BB server) or don't use one at all. But they do want and GET the most attractive, sexiest gear (17 inch laptops, MB Pros, etc...).

It's the geeky and/or overworked execs or the techs or the exec admins that are thumbing away on their CrackBerries, not the CEO, President, and Board Members... maybe the CFO and COO though.

I bet there is plenty of room for the iPhone in business. And this isn't even about a major advertising push anyway; it simply states they are making sure that their enterprise accounts have it as an option. It's not as if they are wasting huge money on a pointless advertising campaign and/or focusing solely on the wrong market at the expense of other markets.

In my experience, business people do not choose what they get. In my company, everything is standard. The highest VIP CEO Mega Super Ãœber person will have the same laptop as the one and lowest employee that just started.
They will also not choose what Blackberry device or Iphone they will get. The business will decide which device will be used and everyone entitled to it will get one. It's all about security. Do people really believe, businesses will hand out Iphones to travelling business people, so they can connect the device at home to their PC and fill it up with pictures, video and music files and other stuff? That would be a major security breach. How is the IT department supposed to control anything like that? The business also cares more about the functionality and compatibility of things, who cares about the coolness factor in this situation?

And my experience differs from yours. For me, the last 3 businesses I've worked for, the highest profile execs (and in some cases the most desirable employees, period) got to choose what they wanted, and IT adapted to their needs or discovered much additional support wasn't necessary because their usage of the devices occurred in a different sphere entirely or the person could do so themselves.

Who said anything about traveling business people? And do you really think the iPhone is anymore a security risk than a cheap keydrive?

And, yes, most execs care more about image than technical functionality. The businesses I've worked for: the execs were rainmakers, shmoozers... They played golf, entertained clients, ran up 4 to 5 figure expense reports to impress clients and get millions in business. They didn't care about being in constant communication. They either were in the know anyway or would rely on telephone communication or their assistants. For them, yes, having the most desirable, image conscious, gadgets was more significant. And it was IT's function to gladly serve them. IT did not dictate to them.

Odom said,
In my experience, business people do not choose what they get. In my company, everything is standard. The highest VIP CEO Mega Super Ãœber person will have the same laptop as the one and lowest employee that just started.
They will also not choose what Blackberry device or Iphone they will get. The business will decide which device will be used and everyone entitled to it will get one. It's all about security. Do people really believe, businesses will hand out Iphones to travelling business people, so they can connect the device at home to their PC and fill it up with pictures, video and music files and other stuff? That would be a major security breach. How is the IT department supposed to control anything like that? The business also cares more about the functionality and compatibility of things, who cares about the coolness factor in this situation?

I guarantee that your company is not normal in this respect.

Policies vary from company to company, and each has its own way of doing business. As lame as it sounds, I don't make them, I just enforce them. The business itself decides on what those are.

With traveling business people I meant people out of the office, and/or travelling.

And do you really think the iPhone is anymore a security risk than a cheap keydrive
that's why keydrives are not allowed

LTD, the point is that Blackberry become successful because it introduced new features that were desperately needed and wanted by the business community (constant, real-time email; push email to keep data size to a minimum.) It also didn't have any fatal flaws like the iPhone does (touch screen; lack of push email ability; lack of ability to interface with Exchange servers.)

The iPhone introduces new features, none of which are needed in a business sense, no matter how "cool" they look from a consumer perspective.

It's not like "new features" are some sort of Mecca that business users gravitate toward. Rather, its specific features; none of which are in in the iPhone.

iBored with reading about this fictional device with half the features of today's smartphones..

By the time this hits the market it'll have even more competition from companies with their own fashion-orientated products..

As if any business user is going to give up their Crackberry.
The iPhone is an expensive toy for pretentious teenagers.

Business customers? is ATT kidding themselves? No user replacable battery and no user 3rd party installable/creatable software content. So if a business wants to create an app to do something enterprise-ish they cant. They are limited to the pre-installed iPhone apps. Thats what made WinMo and BB so popular (along with the push email, but iPhone has that as long as you dont mind using a yahoo account instead of that one printed on the tons of business cards your going to hand out.)
Not only all this but the WinMo 5+ devices can erase all data in the event someone looses their smartphone.

The other handset creators have got this all right. Why is it so difficult for apple? Why is cingular stupid and targeting this at the wrong audience who wont care since it doesnt do what will be needed of it?

what to business?! what do they smoke its not a smartphone its CLOSED software aside widgets you can't install anything else... unless apple get it shipping with a full outlook/lotus/exchange sync software and 3G it won't sell.
giving a business man a iphone its like giving them a PSP/Wii/DS/PS3. they would be better with a Nokia E61i or something.

Joseph21 said,
giving a business man a iphone its like giving them a PSP/Wii/DS/PS3. they would be better with a Nokia E61i or something.

Well said!

if it is not that expensive, apple can target general consumers. And they will be better off by doing so.

Just when you think you've seen everything... :eek:

What businesses is AT&T targetting? I know the IT department where I work (in charge of manufacturing plants) will never touch an Apple product for enterprise use, especially the iPhone. Our budget is small enough as it is...

I think they are targeting the business segment purely base on the huge price of the iPhone, since that puts it well out of reach of the consumer range. Only early adopters and tech enthusiasts are likely to go with the first gen iPhone...ironically the market segment LEAST likely to be using Cingular/AT&T crap.

if it cant integrate into exchange server, lotus notes or groupwise completely... then businesses wont like it...