The four hurdles the iPhone had to jump to become business-ready

When the iPhone was released, Gartner was one of the most outspoken critics of using the iPhone as a business smartphone. However, in the light of Apple's SDK and Exchange ActiveSync announcements for the iPhone last week, Gartner changed its tune about the iPhone and said that it is now comfortable recommending it for enterprises.


Since the iPhone was released in mid 2007, Gartner has been one the most outspoken critics of using it as a business smartphone. Gartner warned IT departments not to allow it into the enterprise because of its security shortcomings. However, in the light of Apple's announcement of its iPhone SDK and Exchange ActiveSync licensing deal, Gartner changed its tune about the iPhone and said that it now feels confident enough to recommend it for enterprises.

Gartner cited four obstacles that the iPhone had to overcome to be accepted as an enterprise business device:

  1. No ability to remotely wipe the device in case of loss or theft
  2. No enforcement of strong passwords
  3. Syncing the device with iTunes was not an enterprise-grade solution
  4. No effective way to deploy enterprise applications

I interviewed Ken Dulaney, Gartner's Vice President of Mobile Computing, about Gartner's stance on the iPhone. Listen to the interview to learn how the iPhone was able to meet Gartner's concerns, how well Gartner thinks the iPhone can compete with BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian, and how much the on-screen keyboard will limit its penetration into the enterprise.

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Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

All of my smartphone users actually USE their smartphones. Meaning they take importnat documents with them or use a custom in house app that syncs back to our GIS database. The iPhone can't compete here. I can't take an office document (up to and including office 07) with me on an iphone. Our own staff relies on smartphones. The oncall person will use vpn over 3g to correct problems with remote desktop. I myself have used this to avoid the disaster of coming into work when I wasn't on call due to an emergency. It was rather convenient for me to correct the problem with my phone as I was on a boat, and so not wanting to back to shore. For myself and my organization, synching with Exchange just isn't going to be enough. Business reasons aside, I still don't want an iPhone until they let us start installing our own programs on them. I realize Apple doesn't want the average consumer to install junk on his phone that may break it and hurt Apple's image of a fluid interface that works flawlessly...but it's my phone and if I want to break it I should be able too!


now that's hard core. I assume this was from a Windows Mobile smartphone. Didn't the screen size cause you problems with remote desktop?

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Absolutely. The problem was a domain controller having some issues which wreaked havok with Kerberos. Scrolling through logs was almost an excercise in futility, but in the end I didn't have to load up the boat and go to work! I had my doubts on actually using a smart phone for hardcore troubleshooting, but now I'm a firm believer in Windows Mobile.

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