Tuesday, February 5, 2008

iPhone for Business and Microsoft Exchange

I'm sitting down to catch a few rays from the tube last night and an iPhone ad comes on. Nothing unusual there. But what caught my attention was that the content being showed on the iPhone was directed at business users, not the consumer. I believe it was the "All These Years" ad but after seeing it today, somehow it looked different to me.

But in any case - I was struck at how this ad was really directed at the suits and how much of the recent iPhone developments are a perfect trifecta pointing at exactly that.

First, you have AT&T creating a new iPhone add-on service plan for corporate accounts. 

Second, the impending release of the SDK has business written all over it. In my mind, Apple would want to release the SDK with a lot of fanfare. Not fanfare in touting all the technical details but by trotting out new applications that they or third parties have developed. I'm betting that Microsoft Exchange connectivity will be one of them (and no Ethel, using IMAP is not an option for far too many users so let's not get into that argument). IBM is not hiding the fact that it's working on a Lotus Notes client for the iPhone and there have been others who are chomping at the bit to do the same.

Third, in preparation for the onslaught, Apple releases a premium model that business users with a lot of disposable income or flush expense accounts will pick up. That extra storage space is not only good for all those movie rentals from iTunes, but forms a great sandbox spot for third-party applications and user storage space to reside. It also makes a great profit generating machine when the 8 GB models are sold out and some buyers will willingly pony up an additional $100 even though they hadn't planned on doing so.

If this is truly the case, and that before the end of February we will see this kind of business connectivity, I would surmise that Apple has way underestimated it's next quarter results. No wonder the iPhone supply is considered volatile right now.

I know a lot of salespeople in the company I work for would gladly front the cash to buy their own iPhone if true Exchange capability (ok, at least email and events) were part of the package. I did without Exchange support. But I wanted to buy before the rush.

For the record, I have no insider information and everything concerning knowledge of Apple's and other entities' activities are freely available on the Internet or pure speculation on my part. I do own stocks in APPL so I prefer to be bullish. 

No comments: