The iPhone is a Trojan

Anthony Caruana
13 December, 2007
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When the iPhone was first announced and subsequently released one of the principal criticisms was that it was so heaviliy focussed as a consumer device that it would never penetrate the lucrative business market. Well, it’s been a few months and the tables have turned.

Like many technologies, the iPhone is finding its way into enterprises through the hands of employees that buy a device with their own money and expect it to work in the office. The same phenomenon was seen ten or so years back with the proliferation of Palm Pilots and other PDAs.

A report in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald tells us that SAP, the largest ERP software vendor around, is going to develop iPhone-ready versions of its software. "So what" you say. For the first time, Palm and BlackBerry won’t be the first mobile devices supported.

The iPhone is a powerful ally to the iPod. Those two incredibly successful consumer devices have done for Apple what no other product has done for them in many years — delivered a piece of important mindshare for corporate CIOs and significant technology influencers. Since Apple moved its computing platform from the aging and limited PowerPC platform to Intel processors with reasonably standard, off-the-shelf, components it’s been possible to run Windows either directly through Boot Camp or via an emulator like Parallels (which I use) or VMWare. That means system admins can have the best of both worlds. In fact, one magazine recently said that the best system to run Windows on is a Mac!

In 2008, I suspect we’ll see small- to medium-sized businesses embracing the Mac as their preferred computing platform. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of one large, high-profile company doing the same thing either. However, my feeling is that large businesses tend to be dragged into the future by influential users that question why they can buy a better computing experince for themselves from a local store than the one delivered by companies with a multi-million-dollar IT budget.

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