"Five hundred dollars? ... That is the most expensive phone in the world. And it doesn't appeal to business because it doesn't have a keyboard."
--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the iPhone, January 2007
Who was it, again, who said Apple's iPhone "doesn't appeal to business because it doesn't have a keyboard"?
Because the device clearly does appeal to business. In fact, quite a few of the iPhones sold today are purchased by business users, according to Ron Spears, chief of AT&T's Business Solutions unit.
"Four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users," Spears said at an investor conference Thursday. "When the iPhone came out, what most people heard in the first year from '07 to '08 was 'oh my God, it's not BlackBerry secure. This is not going to work on the enterprise space.' At the end of the day, it's just software. That's all it is."
Elaborating on the history of adoption of the iPhone by business users, Spears notes, "And by the time the 3G came out in '08 [Apple] had solved about 80 percent of the security issues. By the time the 3GS came out last summer, most CIOs will tell you today they have very few issues around the security that they need provided, as they have come to know that RIM can do it because of the way RIM provides their solution. So enterprises today view the iPhone as a mobile computer."
Evidently, Apple has succeeded in overcoming enterprise's early misgivings about the iPhone's security and business-readiness. Recall that last fall, the device scored highest in both the consumer and business categories of JD Power's Smartphone Satisfaction Study. The iPhone scored 803 points out of a possible 1,000. That's 79 points more than Research in Motion's BlackBerry, which took second place with a score of 724 points, the industry average.