iPhone at Oracle
IT at Oracle put its focus on the iPhone after employees purchasing their own devices began asking for e-mail and calendar support. In June 2007 it began supporting e-mail for the iPhone 2G, and by January 2009 it had 4,000 iPhones deployed globally.
For Oracle's IT team, the iPhone's development platform and user interface enable the creation of collaboration and business applications for employees. On the down side, management tools are lacking and VPN password caching has been an issue-though both of these are expected to be resolved with the iPhone 3.0.
The pharmaceutical company, which began with a pilot program of 20 employees in July 2008 and expects to have 650 users on the iPhone by December 2009, was also frustrated by the VPN password caching issue, as well as battery life issues.
When you're using a device for e-mail, battery life isn't an issue, said Schadler. "But if you're also surfing the Internet or using it for corporate applications, nothing will last doing that."
How was the issue addressed? "They're trickle-feeding," said Schadler. "They're telling people to plug in their devices when they're at their desks."
Despite the battery issues, the pharmaceutical company said it's paying $360 per device per year on voice and data plans, versus what it was spending on BlackBerry devices.
Research In Motion of late has worked to transition from being solely an enterprise device provider and to better pique the interest of consumers, while Apple has worked toward exactly the reverse. If, with the iPhone 3.0, Apple has accomplished this, where does that leave the BlackBerry?
"For messaging, for calendar, [the BlackBerry is] the best device. [Research In Motion] is doing everything right in so many ways," said Schadler. "But they need to step up a few things. The first is the browser."
Even with the BlackBerry Storm? "The browser is adequate," said Schadler, "but it's not a pleasure to use."
Second, he said, "they have to do a more aggressive job of making this attractive for developers. And Apple is not developer-friendly, but they've got 25,000 apps."
Schadler concedes that RIM now has the BlackBerry App World open, and the company is making progress on this front. And also, in speaking with IT departments about the iPhone, there are still security concerns they'll highlight, which make the iPhone still right for some enterprises but not others, such as financial companies.
"[IT departments] will highlight that the configuration files were hackable, that you can't turn off the camera. ... Apple says, in its list of feature functions, those things will be fixed with 3.0," said Schadler.
"For these companies we spoke with, though, these weren't deal breakers."