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Mar 18 2008   12:39AM GMT

The iPhone – an Enterprise device?

JohnWilder John Wilder Profile: JohnWilder

Now that Apple has announced the long-awaited SDK for the iPhone, I thought it would be a good time to discuss mobile devices. We’ve had a policy restricting employees from purchasing their PDAs/Phones and tying them into our network, but over the past 5 years we’ve still managed to reach the point where we’re currently supporting 3 different platforms/devices (Palm, Blackberry, and Windows) .

We certainly didn’t wake up one day and decide that it would be a good idea to support three different mobile platforms. In fact, from what I’ve seen and heard, we arrived at this point like many others have done. A senior manager or CEO shows up on our doorstep with a new device and says “make this work” I envy those of you who are able to successfully fend off all of these requests, and I would note that we do manage to deny more requests than we approve.

I’ll actually take responsibility for introducing the 3rd platform, which was Windows Mobile. I was never particularly fond of adding Blackberry or Goodlink servers to my environment, so when Microsoft added push capability to the Exchange servers I already owned, I jumped in with both feet. Don’t get me wrong, the Blackberry and Goodlink servers are both good products, but given the opportunity I’m more than willing to eliminate the middleman. I also find the provisioning process to be much simpler on the Windows platform. We’re currently in the process of phasing out a Goodlink server which supports the Palm devices, so soon we’ll only be supporting two platforms.

Which brings me to the iPhone, and I’m certain that our phasing out of the Palm platform and Goodlink will coincide with our phasing in of the iPhone as an Enterprise platform. In my mind, the recent announcement of ActiveSync support for the iPhone seals the deal in terms of our supporting this platform. We’ve already got several senior managers using the iPhone, and they’re actually content to access e-mail via Outlook Web Access. Once we can deliver push e-mail directly from Exchange, I can’t see any reason not to use this device as an option for mobile e-mail, particularly in our business. I’m thrilled that it’s going to work directly with Exchange. We’re signed up for the beta, and I look forward to testing this as a mobile option for our organization.

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