Will the iPhone Be an iNightmare?

Opinion: Even the tough stance of IT managers may not be enough to stem the iPhone's tide.

There are very few things Id be willing to stand in line for (especially if it involved camping out on the street): world peace, a cure for cancer, a guarantee that my kids will be happy or tickets to see U2 at Fenway Park, sure.

But an iPhone? Not so much.

By the time you read this column, youll likely have seen video and photos showing people lined up at Apple and AT&T stores, hoping and praying that theyll get their hands on a device that could only be incredible, given the amount of coverage it has received. (Coverage to which eWEEK has certainly added its share.)

But the more interesting line may be the one that IT managers are drawing in the sand—the one designed to keep the iPhone out of the enterprise.

Ive spoken with several IT managers who are as keen as anyone to get an iPhone for personal use and are just as keen to make sure that the iPhone doesnt darken their companies doors.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about some of the iPhones early problems.

Lack of support for corporate security, management and e-mail systems, as well as reliance on a carrier not known for its stellar service, are just a few of the reasons that IT managers are iRate about their users salivating over the iPhone.

"I dont see much advantage over our BlackBerrys, which have [a] phone, browsing, better cell coverage, etc.," said Robert Rosen, CIO of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and an eWEEK Corporate Partner.

But is stopping the iPhone akin to stopping the tide?

Apple has been super-savvy, as usual, with marketing the iPhone. In fact, Apple has done its job so well that the public really did Apples work for it: The hype around the iPhone has been self-perpetuating—the more people talk about it, the more people talk about it. And the more people talk about it, the more people want it. And the more people want it, the more people feel like they have to get it at any cost. In this respect, the iPhone is the Tickle Me Elmo of the gadget crowd.

History has shown us time and time again that its not always the IT organization that sets the technology agenda, especially when it comes to devices. PDAs, for example, were consumer gadgets before they were business tools that synced with databases and other vital corporate applications. They came in through the back door in droves, driving their acceptance.

I have no doubt that IT managers will stay the iPhone course, at least for now, but theres the support you provide to devices approved for use across the organization, and theres the support you provide for devices that the CEO has brought in. Executive toys have a way of trickling down the enterprise. IT managers may have their work cut out for them to stanch the flow.

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