One of Apple’s most important developments for the iPhone in its 2.0 software unveiled last year was its business-friendly features: Microsoft Exchange support, security enhancements, remote-kill, etc. However, according to a group of CIOs gathered in New York this week for an SAP event, the iPhone simply doesn’t cut it for the enterprise, as reported by ZDNet (TechRepublic’s sister site).

These CIOs all but scoffed at the iPhone when the topic of its place in business came up during a panel discussion with SAP customers.

  • Jennifer Allerton, CIO of Roche: “We have email on iPhone, but it has a soft keypad and we are an email intensive culture. We can’t get good enough on it. iPhone is not a business tool, but a nice to have. The backbone is the BlackBerry.”
  • Colgate Palmolive global IT head Ed Toben agreed. He said, “We’re the same way with the iPhone.”
  • SAP co-CEO Leo Apotheker piled on. He explained that SAP’s CRM application is available on the BlackBerry and iPhone, but demand on the BlackBerry is much stronger than for the iPhone. Apotheker also added, “I’m totally unable to complete a sentence on the iPhone. Perhaps I’m clumsy.”
  • Jeannette Horan, IBM’s vice president of enterprise business transformation,  was the most diplomatic. She simply noted, “We have one of everything.”

So the biggest thing holding back the iPhone in the enterprise appears to be its lack of a hardware keyboard, at least according to these IT leaders. Interestingly enough, when iPhone 2.0 launched in mid-2008 I wrote The five reasons I wouldn’t use an iPhone are down to one, the one reason being the touch-screen keyboard.

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