Exchange on iPhone & iPod touch: Is it going to fade like Motorola Q or shine like Blackberry?

by Hari K. Gottipati

Well, some people argue that iPhone is not a smart phone because of the absence of enterprise email service. I don't want to debate whether iPhone is a smart phone or not, but leaving enterprise email, it was much better than a smart phone because of the ultimate browsing experience and worlds best touch interface. And to answer those who say iPhone is not a smart phone, Apple today added enterprise connectivity to iPhone software stack and sent a strong message to RIM that it intends to compete with Blackberry for the Smartphone's market share. Shares of RIM dipped 3% following Apple's announcement, to $98.71 (March 6th,2008)

Finally iPhone lovers can check their enterprise email on their favorite toy. Thanks to Steve Jobs and his team for bringing the enterprise connectivity to the iPhone. iPhone is reaching out to the enterprise community with push email, push calendar, push contacts, global address list, Cisco IPsec VPN, auth and certs, enterprise class WiFi (WPA2 / 802.1x), security policies, enterprise configuration tools, and the remote wipe. Indeed these are very good features for enterprise and these are the one missed in iPhone(enterprise point of view) in the past. When iPhone announced, looking at the price tag, I wrote that the price is in the range of enterprise without enterprise features, but I was wrong. Without enterprise features it attracted the crowd and surpassed the expectations. Now with the enterprise connectivity, it is going to go beyond the expectations.

The only question that I have is - is it going to meet/beat the expectations of Blackberry audience or is it going to tumble as Motorola Q. When Motorola launched Q, they had the big expectations of taking over Blackberry. But we know what happened. Blackberry uses their own push technology which is robust and secure, but Motorola relied on Microsoft Exchange email push(ActiveSync) technology and they even bought Good Technology to achieve this. I am not sure whether it is a failure on Exchange side or Q side, but it failed miserably to capture the Blackberry market. In fact Blackberry is adding new customers every quarter significantly.

In today's press conference, Phil Schiller, Apple SVP said:
"Our customers have asked us to build in MS Exchange right into the iPhone -- we have licensed ActiveSync for the iPhone.
Microsoft has come up with a much more advanced architecture, where the iPhone can work directly with the Exchange server in a more reliable and affordable way. We're building Exchange support so you get push email, push calendaring, push contacts, global address lists, and the ability to remote wipe it."

Even iPhone uses the same Exchange push technology that Motorola used for Q. But knowing Apple's state of art software/hardware strategies, I believe that they do lot better than Motorola. At the same time, there is no indication of adding Lotus Notes email to the iPhone software stack in the near feature. Though Microsoft exchange is leading over the Lotus Notes in enterprise email, Lotus Notes has its presence. Blackberry supports both the emails and targets the whole enterprise. With just Exchange email, iPhone may not beat Blackberry completely, but it definitely shakes the Blackberry.

What do you think? Will it beat Blackberry?

Thanks to Dr. Kiran Mudiam for pointing out the Good technology.


2008-04-17 12:55:24
The Q failed because the Q is a piece of crap. I know I had one for a year. They are junk. They have no notes capability. The battery life is dismal at best. The unit starts screaming for power as soon as its un plugged. Its reception was lousy compared to competing products like the PPC 6700, which I am using now. The web browsing speed was non existent! An Iphone on AT&Ts lousy edge network is much much faster! The ppc 6700 dances circles around the Q in terms of speed and it wasn't even completely compatible with windows mobile 5 applications.