AT&T to market iPhone to business customers?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    hazarhazar Posts: 5member
    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 .
  • Reply 2 of 60
    palex9palex9 Posts: 105member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    floccusfloccus Posts: 138member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,845member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 60
    gee4orcegee4orce Posts: 165member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    uh....does he know that people are NOT supposed to make a call while driving?
  • Reply 7 of 60
    sowardsoward Posts: 33member
    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...
  • Reply 8 of 60
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 60




    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!
  • Reply 11 of 60
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    kilraqkilraq Posts: 26member
    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.



    Let?s see now... we have all the standard markers... check back a few years...



    Sounds sort of similar to the iPod introduction doesn?t it.
  • Reply 14 of 60
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kilraq View Post


    Sounds sort of similar to the iPod introduction doesn?t it.



    Yeah, it does.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    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....
  • Reply 16 of 60
    bearbear Posts: 27member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    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
  • Reply 18 of 60
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 60
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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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