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The iPhone may have captured the attention of consumers when it came on the scene three years ago, but businesses and IT departments have long avoided supporting the device. Instead, they've supported phones like Research in Motion's Blackberry devices. They might not be as pretty or fun as Apple's Jesus Phone, but Blackberrys get the job done. Except now, businesses are increasingly turning to Apple as well.This spells trouble for Blackberry.

The iPhone quickly dominated the smartphone market when it launched in 2007, but Apple has mostly marketed the iPhone as a consumer device, and Blackberrys have remained a corporate sanctioned tool for business. But according to The Wall Street Journal, businesses are starting to support the iPhone at increasing rates.

With reliable email access and tough exteriors, Blackberrys have gotten a reputation for being dependable business products. iPhones, on the other hand, look more like toys. They're also expensive, and IT departments have been reluctant to support the device. As the Wall Street Journal's handy chart below shows, the iPhone has many more apps that can distract consumers.

But according to Apple, 70% of Fortune 100 companies were testing or deploying iPhones in January. More worrying for RIM is the fact that broken Blackberrys are not being replaced.

According to the Journal:

"Microstrategy Inc., which makes business-intelligence software, plans to deploy more iPhones to employees and only replace BlackBerrys when they break. The company has 1,000 BlackBerrys and 400 iPhones, including 200 purchased by employees."

Supporting and purchasing devices as a business tool is proof that Apple's growing sales figures are closing in on RIM's smartphone dominance.

Blackberrys are seen as reliable email and phone devices, but it appears that the company's efforts to update software and add features have not been able to keep up with innovations Apple has made with the iPhone.

According to the Journal, Apple's efforts to protect the information on lost and stolen iPhones and its compatibility with Microsoft exchange email since 2008 have made it more business friendly.

The latest iPhone, out this week, goes further with its software distribution capability and additional security features. And according to Ron Spears, AT&T's chief of business solutions, enterprises now contribute to 40% of iPhone sales. According to ZDNET, Spears notes that iPhone's security risks have been neutralized. Furthermore, he says:

"Enterprises today view the iPhone as a mobile computer. It happens to have a voice application on it. But what’s important is what you can do with it, and the way you can mobilize workforces, and specific parts of your workforce, not the entire workforce."

Meghan Keane

Published 25 June, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (10)

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2gb sd card

Ohh, well that's somewhat shocking news. Apple is great company and giving best to it's users. I must say that it has been great to know. I had read this whole article and it is very nice to know about this. In business up and downs are normal so it's not big deal. Blackberry and Apple both are superb company.

over 6 years ago

Matthew Phelan

Matthew Phelan, Director and Co-Founder at 4Ps Marketing

Really interesting article. It is surprising how many times at (delete as appropriate) exhibitions / conferences / after work drinks / networking / any event with business people that by about 10:30 PM in the bar afterwards from about 3 drinks onwards the inevitable iPhone vs Blackberry debate starts and everyone starts drawing phones like they are in wild west film. I would love to know the details of this "70% of Fortune 100 companies were testing or deploying iPhones in January". Well done iPhone.

over 6 years ago

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Matthew Shipley

I've yet to experience or try a distributed software and setup as we only use a small number of phones, so far though the Blackberries have been far easier to add into the network. The Blackberry service has made integration with our Exchange server a doddle whilst the iPhones have gone through several tweaks. I get the impression that upgrading to Exchange 07/8 might make things a lot smoother though.

It would be interesting to see some feedback here from anyone who has recently deployed iPhones or Blackberries at an enteprise level before we start to dismiss the humble Blackberry.

over 6 years ago

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Andy Bolton

This is an interesting article, it does appear that a large % of businesses are moving to the iPhone (quoted by Curtis Silver on http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/08/great-geek-debates-iphone-vs-blackberry that it is an anti productivity tool)

The main fear for me to implement into the business is the lack of a central management tool, and the security aspect of the devices. Whilst the Blackberry has an easy to use management interface to control, configure, secure and wipe (in the event of loss), all that is on offer from the iPhone is a layered approach, using AES 256-bit hardware encryption to protect all data at rest. To further secure mail messages and attachments iPhone uses Data Protection which leverages the unique device passcode to generate the encryption key. And, in the event of a lost or stolen iPhone, all data and settings can be cleared by issuing a remote wipe command from Exchange or a Mobile Device Management server.

I have not been able to work with these tools and feel they need to be documented more before i will look at implementing into the business. However i feel that the Central Management from the Blackberry perspective is a challenge to beat.

about 6 years ago

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iphone_addict

I think iPhone is too much fun to be suitable for the business environment. I couldn't imagine getting significant amount of work done when it offers so much entertainment, video streaming, music etc etc

about 6 years ago

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Rod Banner

All true. One point not discussed is the explosion of adoption of BlackBerry messenger. Let's see if Apple beat that into a corner. IMHO, it's inevitable. And what about Android (Google's mobile OS), Symbian (Nokia's) and Microsoft's imminent re-entry? Are they all doomed?

about 6 years ago

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gadgets

I used to have a blackberry, but I just bought an iPhone 4 and I am no longer using my blackberry anymore...

about 6 years ago

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eddie787

i use bb before but now i use phone 4 too cuz is better and more comfort and da games is more fun lol hahhaa

over 5 years ago

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PC Recycling

I was talking to a customer the other day and their business swapped out to iPhone from Blackberry because it handles e-mail better.BlackBerries are more secure than iPhones, and will be as long as serious business class people use them.

over 5 years ago

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Jay

I own a staffing company and have been using the blackberry for sometime, when the iphone 4 came out I had to try it. It's an amazing device I can even go as far as to say that this is the future of business.

It handles my emailed resumes better than the blackberry and not dealing with the dreadful "truncated" error for files that are to large is a welcomed addition.

about 5 years ago

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