Today, Apple’s Steve Jobs is expected to announce a strategy to use its Web-browsing iPhone to move into the corporate market. Shares of Blackberry maker RIMM dropped 4% yesterday on the expectation.
The iPhone is a great consumer product, no doubt. But there’s a lot of reasons to believe that Apple won’t have nearly as much success nearly as soon as it has achieved in the consumer market. My colleague Peter Burrows wrote a smart skeptical analysis of the iPhone prospects and challenges in penetrating Corporate America. The challenges include:
- Apple needs to build up credibility with corporate buyers after years of largely ignoring them.
- Apple may have to change its business model to cater to their needs, and it’ll have to be more open with partners, so independent software developers can create applications for the iPhone that corporations want.
- To take on RIM, experts say Apple will need to develop server technology far more complex than what it has today.
- The iPhone’s keyboard may need a rethink.
Even though I too am skeptical of this venture, I think it is a smart long-term strategy. I just think the financial returns won’t materialize for a while as Apple retools its operations to cater to the far more demanding road warriors and executives in corporations.
On the other hand, I believe RIMM’s moves downstream into the consumer market are already bearing fruit. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of friends and colleagues buying the new Pearl or Curve smart phones, or expressing an interest in buying one. So this seems like more of a buying opportunity for RIMM.
What do you think?
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