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Microsoft: iPhone useless for business

updated 11:25 am EDT, Thu April 19, 2007

Microsoft on iPhone

The underlying philosophy for the iPhone will make it all but superfluous in the working world, a Microsoft executive told journalists during a press event in Australia. Although initially welcoming the Apple handset as a media device, Asia-Pacific smartphone strategy head Chris Sorenson was quick to rule out the device almost entirely for business, noting that Apple's walled-off approach to software was virtually bound to lock out iPhones from corporate offices and users who want to view files from work while on the go.

"It's a closed device that you cannot install applications on, and there's no support for Office documents," he said. "If you're an enterprise and want to roll out line of business applications, it's just not an option. Even using it as a heavy messaging device will be a challenge."

Sorenson added that the iPhone's interfaced differences might also deter businesses, which he argued would prefer the familiar look of Windows Mobile 6 and the ability to install new software without explicit approval from the handset maker. Version 6 of Microsoft's smartphone suite also frequently includes Office Mobile for editing or viewing common Office files.

Microsoft's comments echo those made about the Mac's ultimate lack of success in the corporate world for much of its lifespan, which was frequently dictated by proprietary hardware and software that would not interoperate with other file formats or corporate networks. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has so far argued that stability is the motivator behind limiting iPhone software support as bugs and crashes could be far more catastrophic on an essential device.

Apple has to date made few open concessions to business use with its Mac OS X-driven device, so far only adding "push" e-mail for Yahoo accounts as well as support for IMAP-based Microsoft Exchange accounts commonly used in the workplace. No talk has surfaced of either a mobile version of Office for Mac or an equivalent, though Jobs upon the iPhone's introduction said he would be willing to add new in-house software in the future for various functions.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. starwarrior

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006


    Not at my place

    We have all Apple including servers.

  1. benhur

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2001


    has a point

    I hope Apple will address it though. We have all Apple servers here as well but to exclude the majority of businesses as potential customers would be pretty bad.

    I don't see why Apple couldn't include an Exchange client and Office support.

  1. lockhartt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000



    People have complained that the recent revisions to Leopard have only brought significant changes to the Terminal app... what they haven't taken into account is that may be in keeping with the "we're focusing a lot of effort on the iPhone and that's why Leopard will be late" statement. If Terminal is being enhanced for use on the iPhone, I will definitely welcome it as a business tool for IT. If they add the Server Manager and related apps for OS X servers, I'll be doubly happy as half our servers are OS X.

    That being said, some of the criticisms made are at least partially valid in terms of not being able to install applications on the phone as desired... but this depends upon what Apple offers directly and/or in partnership with third parties.

  1. jhorvatic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    Microsoft FUD!!!!

    More Microsoft FUD as they know the iPhone is going to take off into orbit as far as sales for Apple go. There so jealous that there just making up all of this FUD to try and scare people somehow. Sorry Microsoft, but it ain't going to work. Everyone knows all of your dirty tricks and lies. Your Zune was a disaster and you know the iPhone is just another killer product for Apple and you just can't stand it.

  1. lpkmckenna

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Uh, web apps?

    iPhone + Google Docs = happy businessmen.

    Frankly, there is zero need to install apps on a device with true internet connectivity. Web Apps change everything.

  1. fm1365

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001


    What about RIM?

    Blackberrys are mostly used for email and some web surfing and yet are the most adopted platform in the country if not the world. Apples iPhone shares similar traits and adds to it.

  1. mitchcohen

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2005


    50% FUD, 50% reality

    As much as I'd like to consider this typical Microsoft FUD there is an element of truth to it.

    Apple absolutely needs to open it to developers. Palm did it from day one (with Codewarrior for Palm). Heck, developers still write apps for the Newton.

    It runs OS X so minor XCode updates would allow easy development (a new target, and a few other changes).

    Apple would be proper in disallowing system-level changes (kernel extensions etc) to prevent the whole OS from crashing. But the beauty of OS X is an application alone should never be able to crash either another application of the OS.

    I've said it before - if Steve doesn't announce true development for iPhone at WWDC, he may very well be boo'd at the keynote. Developers are not happy.

  1. exca1ibur

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000



    Did they ever say it was aimed at businessesm though? I agree with lpkmckenna, with widgets you can pretty much do all kind of web applications that tie into the internet, or intranet for consumers and (oh my gosh... businesses).

    They need to just shut up and worry about their own products. They act like they are threatened... uh oh..

  1. mitchcohen

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2005



    Many, many companies have added software to blackberries for specific tasks. Lead tracking, logging of sales calls, daily/weekly reporting, etc. The Blackberry's connectivity into in-house databases is one thing that's made it such a huge hit with corporations.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999


    So what?

    How many MS execs get up and say "The iPod is useless for business"?

    Like the iPod, I don't think the iPhone is intended to be a business tool.

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