Thursday, July 5, 2007

iPhone Disrupting Internet Explorer?

A number of years back, I wrote for another website that in the corporate space, one of Apple's biggest problems is the many browser-based client software requires ActiveX and Internet Explorer. This effectively shuts out the Mac as a desktop client because those apps simply won't work unless something like Citrix or virtual technology is used. So much for browser clients being truly agnostic.

And Microsoft likes it that way because it makes Microsoft money. It keeps businesses buying PC's with Windows installed. It keeps developers buying Microsoft development tools. And allows Microsoft to control the computing industry to suit its own goals. Any company in this position would likely do the same thing.

So the only way for a competitor to change this is to come up with disruptive technology. And the iPhone is exactly that.

The iPhone is a consumer device. But many stock brokers, doctors, insurance agents, realtors, corporate executives are going to buy this device. They will want this to be their primary device. They will show it to their friends. They will pull it out at meetings. They will want to access the same browser-based applications as they do on their PC because it comes with a full fledged browser. And they will be disappointed when they find out it won't work. And they will complain loudly.

And the smart software companies will respond. The dumb ones will die out or be marginalized.

As a backhanded move, Apple released Safari on Windows. I doubt that Apple thought that millions of web users will switch like they did with Firefox. Instead, it gave Apple an easy response to web application developers to make their web sites and browser client applications iPhone friendly. Which turns into Mac friendly. Which means more Macs sold in the corporate space without Apple having to launch a full frontal assault on their Redmond friendlies.

It also means that more websites and developers will embrace open standards, or at least be forced out of lock-in relationships. Which brings competition and innovation. Which plays right into Apple's hands.

Can you imagine a $250 iPhone in a year's time? There are people in multiple industries thinking of that very same prospect now and losing sleep over it.

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