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AT&T to market iPhone to business customers?

post #1 of 61
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AT&T, the wireless carrier which recently consumed Cingular, is reportedly undergoing preparations to market Apple Inc.'s upcoming iPhone device to business customers in addition to average consumers.

The wireless carrier recently decided that the first Apple mobile handset will appeal to business users and is now working hard to ensure that its back-end enterprise billing and support systems will accommodate the device when it ships, the IDG News Service reported Monday evening.

Analysts, however, aren't seeing eye-to-eye on the move. They're calling it a big mistake."

If AT&T announces plans to market the phone to enterprise customers, "we'd be against it," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner. "We'd immediately tell our customers that'd be a very serious mistake.

Dulaney argues that regardless of who the handset maker is, if it's their initial foray into mobile phone development, business customers should stand clear. "Building a phone is one of the most difficult things to do," he said.

Business customers should also be weary of the iPhone's various other shortcomings, the Gartner analyst said. For instance, he notes that it lacks a physical keyboard, which will make it difficult to dial while driving. The device also runs a closed version of the Mac OS X operating system, meaning enterprises won't be able to extend their corporate applications to the device.

Furthermore, Dulaney said, iPhone does not include a user-replacable battery.

"You'd be crazy to buy without that," he said.
post #2 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For instance, he notes that it lacks a physical keyboard, which will make it difficult to dial while driving.

Errrrr, not sure about States, but in Europe you would get a super-fine if dialing when driving. At least in some European countries .
post #3 of 61
now att is once again as big, if not bigger, than it was before the break-up back in the 80's....
as the gobbled up cingular, apple is now dealing with the beheamoth of the telco industry, att. they bad news is that this company has a long list of failures whenever it ventured outside of its core business. anybody remember the B2 line of computers? a huge failure. att branded home phone equipment? not even made by att (vtech and others). apple does not realize they are now dealing with the most 'think inside the box' group of managers there is.

now att says they will market the iphone to business customers... instant proof that the top brass are a bunch of boneheads! sure, businesses will scramble to buy an overpriced phone with poor battery performance and unknown issues... steve, you will regret the day you decided to work with this outfit.
post #4 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

now att is once again as big, if not bigger, than it was before the break-up back in the 80's....

Possibly, but the key is that they're not the only telco any more... I'd bet that Apple has escape clauses written into their contract with ATT that allow them to move to T-mobile if ATT's sales aren't up to Apple's liking.

As for the actual issue at hand, business users would have the cash and flexibility to buy the iPhone, so marketing to these people just makes sense. Also, the feature set of the iPhone seems more geared towards business users who need the flexibility of things such as visual voice mail and email. Oh, and as Blackberry has proven, never underestimate the irrationality of a business user to want the coolest and hippest phone on the market.
post #5 of 61
AT&T is just a brand name now. SBC which owns Cingular bought the floundering remnant of the old AT&T then changed its name to AT&T figuring that most people we bill fooled into thinking they're now Ma Bell. If you want to examine the history of today's AT&T, you have to look at SBC's history not the 80's post-breakup AT&T.
post #6 of 61
How many people actually take the battery out of their phones ? Really ? I've never done this. Ever. Except to remove the SIM card that's underneath.
post #7 of 61
uh....does he know that people are NOT supposed to make a call while driving?
post #8 of 61
Gartner rarely knows what they are talking about(.9). They manage to give the perception of correct prognostications, because they usually take both sides of any issue until a clear winner can be determined. That is, I bet they have, or will have soon, another analyst that will tell you that the iphone will be a huge enterprise success (.7), especially with enterprises desiring to reduce support costs. (3rd party app crashed my phone, put in wrong battery, stocked wrong battery, crashed while dialing and phone broke, etc...
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gee4orce View Post

How many people actually take the battery out of their phones ? Really ? I've never done this. Ever. Except to remove the SIM card that's underneath.

Agreed. Granted I have to charge my RAZR every night, I could care less as my habits won't change.
post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

AT&T is just a brand name now. SBC which owns Cingular bought the floundering remnant of the old AT&T then changed its name to AT&T figuring that most people we bill fooled into thinking they're now Ma Bell. If you want to examine the history of today's AT&T, you have to look at SBC's history not the 80's post-breakup AT&T.

What you said! Plus, it is definitely not as big (in a relative sense anyways) or influential as AT&T in its monopoly days.
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post #11 of 61


The article implies I am an 'average consumer', while the accompanying vote assumes I am a 'business customer'. Now I enjoy AppleInsider, but neither of these labels are very helpful!
post #12 of 61
1) Don't most cellphones have voice dialing? Isn't it a safe bet that Apple will offer something jsut as easy, if not easier?

2) Who replaces their cellphone batteries? i've never done it! This is the most idiotic reason to not by an Apple product and yet it's repeated constantly. Since the iPhone uses the 30-pin iPod connector you can simply purchase one of the many battery extenders without having to take your phone apart or turn it off.

3) Tiger's Mail can already do Exchange via IMAP, but isn't Leopard's Mail suppose to do Exchange directly? This will go a long way in determining if the iPhone is worthwhile for many companies.
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post #13 of 61
I would think that keeping the OS closed would be a bad thing, especially in the business arena.

If Apple continues to keep the OS closed, not allowing businesses, big and small, to make their own apps for inventory, cash flow, meetings and scheduling, and what ever businesses do, then they are really shooting themselves in the foot. It would be an easy port from iPhone to OS X on a real mac, and could potentially gain them more mac sales in the business world (Which other than graphic design, photo, and film areas, Apple is drastically falling behind in other business venues.)

Open up iPhone, gain more customers of your computers in the areas you need it most.
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post #14 of 61
Quote:
"we'd be against it," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner. "We'd immediately tell our customers that'd be a very serious mistake.

1. Market "Analyst" predicting a move into "whatever" market is bad. Check.

Quote:
"Building a phone is one of the most difficult things to do,"

2. Calling the crap that currently exists on the markets as well done pieces of engineering... Check.

Quote:
For instance, he notes that it lacks a physical keyboard, which will make it difficult to dial while driving.

3. Shows his mental short comings and lack of knowledge of the consumer-end activities. (Wireless headset and voice activated numbers. Welcome to the 20th century) Check.

Quote:
iPhone does not include a user-replaceable battery. "You'd be crazy to buy without that," he said.

4. Cause getting an external battery isn't something hundreds of people have done... Check.

Lets see now... we have all the standard markers... check back a few years...

Sounds sort of similar to the iPod introduction doesnt it.
post #15 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by kilraq View Post

Sounds sort of similar to the iPod introduction doesnt it.

Yeah, it does.
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post #16 of 61
I don't see most businesses caring about the iPhone. I really don't.

A lot of small businesses that have "smartphones" or PDA's are also using some type of business management software that installs or is accessible through the phone. Are those companies going to make an OSX for iPhone version of that software? Nope! And the demand won't be there for them to do it, because people aren't going to buy phones that aren't compatible with their business.

If you schedule your employees through exchange you MIGHT be able to get it to work, be I'd imagine even that would get to be a headache, and exchange isn't exactly a graceful solution. It helps with scheduling, but it won't help with inventory, customer notes, doing on-site billing, the list goes on....
post #17 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Business customers should also be weary of the iPhone's various other shortcomings, the Gartner analyst said. For instance, he notes that it lacks a physical keyboard, which will make it difficult to dial while driving. The device also runs a closed version of the Mac OS X operating system, meaning enterprises won't be able to extend their corporate applications to the device.

Large touch dialing screen should be easier than buttons to use. And maybe there will be voice activated dialing. And maybe Apple will make the first cellular phone that you can speak the phone number and have it dial. (Apple should add this fetaure to the iPhone.)

And as for being a closed platform, it does have mail support and a full web browser - maybe enterprises should just worry about keeping their data on well backed up servers and use web apps for people on the road.

And as for being a closed platform, well maybe, just maybe that means we won't have to worry so much about viruses and such?
Quote:
Furthermore, Dulaney said, iPhone does not include a user-replacable battery.

As long as there is a way to hook up an external battery, this should not be an issue. Also as long as it can charge while being used, this becomes a total non issue.

Quote:
"You'd be crazy to buy without that," he said.

Of course everyone is crazy, just that everyone is crazy in a different way that may not be the same as the other persons crazyness. Just as long as one is not insane for buying an iPhone.
post #18 of 61
I think what most of you guys are forgetting is that the majority of business users (who use it to check their company's e-mail) need for the phone to support MS Exchange. iPhone *DOES NOT* do this. This alone should deter *most* business users from purchasing the iPhone.

Remember guys, there are things outside of Apple. The world doesn't revolve around Apple.

w00master
post #19 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

now att is once again as big, if not bigger, than it was before the break-up back in the 80's....
as the gobbled up cingular, apple is now dealing with the beheamoth of the telco industry, att. they bad news is that this company has a long list of failures whenever it ventured outside of its core business. anybody remember the B2 line of computers? a huge failure. att branded home phone equipment? not even made by att (vtech and others). apple does not realize they are now dealing with the most 'think inside the box' group of managers there is.

now att says they will market the iphone to business customers... instant proof that the top brass are a bunch of boneheads! sure, businesses will scramble to buy an overpriced phone with poor battery performance and unknown issues... steve, you will regret the day you decided to work with this outfit.

I do remember my first non-Apple personal computer, an IBM PC clone named the AT&T 6300, costing only $4700:

Manufacturer: AT&T

CPU: 8086 (16 Bit)

Operating System: MS-DOS 3.3

RAM: 640 Kbytes

Storage: 2 Internal 5¼" 360k Floppy Drives

Display: Factory upgraded with VGA Graphics card and Color Monitor

Misc Peripherals: External 2400 Baud Modem



One of the finest, most reliable computers that I have ever owned, it still boots and runs fine! I still play the MS-DOS version of Railroad Tycoon. Sometimes when I am really bored and want a trip down memory lane, I load up dBase III to see if I remember the scripting language.
post #20 of 61
Two of the common concerns people voice on Apple selling the iPhone to the enterprise are Exchange Integration and Security. Blackberry does a great job on both of those fronts.

I've used a Nokia 770 (admitedly not really a phone) and several different Blackberry models over the years for my "information" needs. Now I find I use my BB for as much web browsing and mapping as e-mail. I'm not an enterprise customer; my company uses BIS (provided by the phone company) rather than an in-house BES. We do this because of licensing and administrative overhead costs. I love my Blackberry, but would like to go with the iPhone next due to the larger screen space primarily.

The easiest way I can see Apple competing with RIM/Blackberry is by moving secure applications and Exchange integration towards the browser more. This makes local data storage security a non-issue, and allows for a fairly rich suite of viewer applications and even editing to be developed independent of the device hardware.
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by w00master View Post

I think what most of you guys are forgetting is that the majority of business users (who use it to check their company's e-mail) need for the phone to support MS Exchange. iPhone *DOES NOT* do this. This alone should deter *most* business users from purchasing the iPhone.

Remember guys, there are things outside of Apple. The world doesn't revolve around Apple.

w00master

Mail in 10.4 already supports Exchange through IMAP. Leopard is dramatically increasing its Exchange support, though to what level, I do not know. Either way, if a company wants to use Exchange and the iPhone it's a simple matter to turn on IMAP support from the Exchange server.
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post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

now att says they will market the iphone to business customers... instant proof that the top brass are a bunch of boneheads! sure, businesses will scramble to buy an overpriced phone with poor battery performance and unknown issues... steve, you will regret the day you decided to work with this outfit.

Do you think it might be possible that they might know a little bit more about the iPhone than you do?

overpriced? - businesses have the money to spend on phones and especially if a phone is critical to GTD

poor battery performance? - the phone isn't even out yet! Also most iPod owners already have car chargers and travel chargers for their iPod. Guess what? same dock connector!

unknown issues? - what is that, that doesn't count. everything has unknown issues, but guess what? How many phones will have dozens of websites dedicated to analyzing every tiny aspect of it? The iPhone will be examined with a fine-tooth comb by millions of passionate Apple customers. They will create websites, write blog entries, develop software solutions and hacks on an order of magnitude far beyond any other device.
post #23 of 61
With regard to to replacing the battery, I have to agree with the analyst here. I tend to keep my phones for 2 - 3 years and I find that after about 12 - 18 months the battery life has dropped dramatically and I need to replace it. Maybe I am an oddball, but I would be very hesitant to purchase a mobile product where I can't buy a new battery and replace it. It would be acceptable for me to take it Apple or AT&T to have the battery replaced as long as they could do it while I wait.

Other than that, I do not see any obstacles to selling it to business users. I do not see large companies purchasing the iPhone for their employees, but this doesn't mean that the employees at these companies won't purchase it themselves. This often the way to force the company to support the new product, although it will take some time. If I recall correctly, this is how the Blackberry broke into the large corporate customers. Also, just because Apple says it is a closed system doesn't mean that it will stay that way forever.
post #24 of 61
Exchange is not just email. Its meetings - that is the main reason for its Calendaring, Contacts, and so on. None of that works over IMAP. I'm a huge IMAP proponent (we write IMAP client software for mobile devices), but you have to have that full calendar, contact, task sync.
post #25 of 61
I think the problem is the guy is so overboard as if he owns thousands of shares of Verizon & Palm he talks as if once he speaks, millions of companies will automatically line up behind him ... sure, there are lots of pre-judgment statements you could make about the iphone that may or may not ultimately true ... but to make giant position statements as if he knows all, unlikely ... you could easily argue that most apps being sold and loaded onto "smart" phones are merely replacement apps because the original are crappy - it'd be like asking Mac users why don't they buy a photo cataloging software - so why would you need a lot of third party apps? Or the fact the ipod is not really intended as an OS yet we have apps for the ipods, both sanctioned and unsantioned ... and yea, the battery thing puzzles me - perhaps since RIM users are told to remove the battery for a reset, he cannot conceive of how to reset the iphone? Just like there's no ALT key on the Mac so how could you possibly reset it? Maybe he figures since THurott & Dvorak have made a living on taking wild positions with no basis in fact, he might as well?
post #26 of 61
For the people who are saying that they wouldn't need to change their battery, you're probably not a business user.
post #27 of 61
Analysts. Don't you love 'em? Always trying to make past paradigms fit existing phenomena and predict future ones. Otherwise they wouldn't be 'analytical', right?

The iPhone will sell in bucketloads to consumers, including people who are in 'business'. Demand will grow for systems integration. Somebody will eventually provide it. Apple doesn't give a shit about pandering to 'the Enterprise' - too many compromises that ruin the Apple consumer brand. If the Mountain comes to Mohammed however then that's cool.

The Apple ethos with flagship products, iMac, iPod, iPhone; is to transcend the existing market and create new uncontested ones. Blue Sky/Blue Ocean etc.

They succeed or they fail but to suggest certain compromises for business users is to completely miss the point; a popular pastime of analysts.
post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

For the people who are saying that they wouldn't need to change their battery, you're probably not a business user.

I have been, and my phone was always replaced long before the battery started failing.
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post #29 of 61
They said "business"... I'd agree that small and medium-sized businesses will flock to iPhone. Big, big businesses may not.

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post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

They said "business"... I'd agree that small and medium-sized businesses will flock to iPhone. Big, big businesses may not.

i have my own company and have several friends with companies in the 10-100 employee range. none of them is currently considering the iphone. what for? the blackberry does exactly what these people need, at half the price of the iphone...
post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

i have my own company and have several friends with companies in the 10-100 employee range. none of them is currently considering the iphone. what for? the blackberry does exactly what these people need, at half the price of the iphone...

I recall friends saying the same thing back in 2002.
"I don't need an iPod. My Rio does everything I need for half the price."

They said this because they didn't really understand what an iPod was.
I suspect that most people who are dismissive of the iPhone don't really understand what it is.
post #32 of 61
How many people remove the battery from their laptops? Apple should start making all their laptop computers with no user replaceable battery.
post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Don't most cellphones have voice dialing? Isn't it a safe bet that Apple will offer something jsut as easy, if not easier?

Maybe, but they haven't said anything about it.
Quote:
3) Tiger's Mail can already do Exchange via IMAP, but isn't Leopard's Mail suppose to do Exchange directly? This will go a long way in determining if the iPhone is worthwhile for many companies.

I don't think so. There have been some rumors to that effect (there always are) but none of the builds show it. In addition, it seems that rather than trying to improve Macs as Exchange clients, Apple is going after the Exchange server with Leopard.
post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

How many people remove the battery from their laptops? Apple should start making all their laptop computers with no user replaceable battery.

They said the same thing about the iPod "You can't replace the battery".
But where there is a need there are entrepreneurs ready to fill it.
You can buy a replacement battery for most iPods and you WILL be able to get the battery replaced in an iPhone.

An easily replaceable battery adds bulk to the design.
By opting for a hard to replace battery, the iPhone is a slimmer and more elegant design.
This is the right choice because the vast majority of users rarely swap batteries.
post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I recall friends saying the same thing back in 2002.
"I don't need an iPod. My Rio does everything I need for half the price."

They said this because they didn't really understand what an iPod was.
I suspect that most people who are dismissive of the iPhone don't really understand what it is.

you are missing the whole point! we are talking about business usage of a telephone here. a ipod or rio is something you use privately. and i am not implying that privte individuals will not "flock" to buy it....

BUT

i just saw a german program that studied the use of cell phones by european teens. turns out that the 2 major things they did was talk (what a concept) and text message. mp3/photo whatever was only being used by 10-20% of those that had phones WITH those capabilities. so steve might be betting the farm on a gadget that might just be too much for too few.
post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gee4orce View Post

How many people actually take the battery out of their phones ? Really ? I've never done this. Ever. Except to remove the SIM card that's underneath.

I have, many, many times. Funny thing about batteries.. they go dead (like when you are traveling on an airplane while using your phone pda functions and you do not have access to a charging unit)..

Also when using your phone as a modem for your laptop when you are in areas where wi-fi is not available (i guess i can splurge extra for the mobile card for laptop from sprint and the service plan)..

Also, when needing to reset the pda (my palm for example is never really of. Can be annonying when you want to reset).

I am sure i am just scratching the surface.. i am sure some people carry extra batteries for thier cell (example, they are in an airport and their batteries run dry... i once had to find an outlet and charge my phone in an airport.. very ackward as the outlet was not in an obvious location and i had to put my phone on the floor next to the outlet).

Yeah, a business would definetly want to be able to remove the battery.
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) Don't most cellphones have voice dialing? Isn't it a safe bet that Apple will offer something jsut as easy, if not easier?

2) Who replaces their cellphone batteries? i've never done it! This is the most idiotic reason to not by an Apple product and yet it's repeated constantly. Since the iPhone uses the 30-pin iPod connector you can simply purchase one of the many battery extenders without having to take your phone apart or turn it off.

3) Tiger's Mail can already do Exchange via IMAP, but isn't Leopard's Mail suppose to do Exchange directly? This will go a long way in determining if the iPhone is worthwhile for many companies.

1. Voice dialing sucks. If apple can make it work, they should license it to everyone.. that will make them billions. Wonder, would you be able to change the functions of the phone via voice?.. you know, one minute it displays controls for MP3 player, next minute you want to change it to display controls for a phone or maybe address book.. what do you say.. "phone, lookup tom"?. Or how about this "phone, look up appointment for sarah next week?". Everyone that has posted on this topic in this forum is looking at the problem from a consumer standpoint. How exactly does one do all these things via voice?. Voice dialing (which sucks as far as i am concerned) is just one component.

2. I do, i do!!. Just cause you never do it does not mean others wouldn't. See my previous post.

3. I think they were talking about corporate specific programs, not just email. You'd be amazed what you can do on a PDA (i have a friend who has a company that develops pda apps.. amazing stuff.. makes email on PDA seems stone age).
post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnurse View Post

1. Voice dialing sucks. .

i have fonix voicedial on my sprint pda phone and it works great. unless you are in a really noisy environment it gets it right the first time almost always, and you can say CALL TOM MOBILE or DIAL 800-555-1212
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Mail in 10.4 already supports Exchange through IMAP. ...

True, but that was MacOS X 10.3. With MacOS X 10.4, Mail also supports Exchange via Exchange. If it works, the Mail works better than Microsoft's own POS Entourage 2004, the first version of Microsoft's title to support Exchange via Exchange. Also, iCal supports Exchange calendaring and Address Book supports Exchange contacts. Unfortunately, Exchange is a moving target. If Leopard Mail/Address Book/iCal gets a better handle on Exchange, then I will be very happy. To claim that Leopard will be the first version of MacOS X to support Exchange, however, is just plain wrong.
post #40 of 61
It will sell regardless of how they market it at this stage IMO.
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