Before Apple burst onto the scene with the iPhone and changed mobile communications as we know it, Blackberry, as perfected by Research in Motion, RIM, dominated the business world. You simply had to have a Blackberry in hand if you wanted to be taken seriously as a business executive and the organization ably stood up to the job of producing its equipment for enterprise level performance.
History will show just how important the iPhone was in our communications world and it has certainly rewritten the rule book in many cases. Will it rewrite the unspoken law which says that enterprise business requires the use of Blackberry?
Blackberry is certainly way ahead when it comes to the number of available devices in use globally. Many organizations have thousands, if not tens of thousands of Blackberry devices interlinked and almost “wired” into the very way they do business. The company has certainly set the standard for reliability, uptime and functionality. Companies have found that they can scale the corporate use of the Blackberry and a certain number of applications have been specifically designed for the platform, enabling the device to be far more than just a phone or e-mail communications device. RIM has a bulletproof network operations center and relay facilities, ensuring that when there is any downtime, you hear about it right away on the national media.
Contrary to Blackberry, which has a well-deserved reputation as being a “business” phone, iPhone has emerged into the popular culture and is a must-have accessory if you are “with it.” You could argue that it is not designed for competent and regular e-mail use, possesses only a virtual keyboard, which has retained a share of criticism for its design, but overall, it’s a much more diverse product. This is where the key to its business future lies. We all know what an “app” is by now and there are tens of thousands of options available for iPhone users, growing by the day.
Forward thinking organizations have jumped in feet first and designed their own enterprise style applications specific to their business. This is one of the iPhone product’s greatest strengths, as the number of applications and thus the potential for productive interaction between layers of different business executives are unlimited. However, the iPhone network performance may not be as robust as its Blackberry opponent. Blackberry devices and services are available from more than 200 carriers around the world and specifically tailored for the enterprise operation. In the United States, iPhone users are currently restricted to one carrier. RIM works directly with technical people at enterprise level and designs services and products accordingly. iPhone, on the other hand, largely relies on an ecosystem of application vendors.
The fact that iPhone is able to reach much further into popular culture and is becoming that “must have” accessory for our personal lives, means that it will likely see much more widespread adoption at the corporate level, if nothing else due to the fact that people do not want to carry two phones – one for business and one for work. Issues related to support, security, capability and operating system strength must all be addressed. Apple is clearly investing more in enterprise support for iPhone and future generations will undoubtedly balance criticisms.
Are you for the Blackberry, or for the iPhone?