updated 12:55 pm EDT, Mon May 17, 2010
Standard Chartered makes iPhone option worldwide
RIM was dealt a blow on Monday after British bank Standard Chartered said it would let workers switch from the BlackBerry to the iPhone. The bank has been converting its e-mail system worldwide and will offer to cover the iPhone service costs of anyone who needs a smartphone for work. Company officials didn't know how soon the entire company would move over or how many of Standard Chartered's 75,000 staff are equipped with smartphones.
The shift is one of the largest corporate expansions to support the iPhone and reveals a willingness to diversify away from BlackBerry-only use at work. Most companies using BlackBerries have homogeneous networks as they base their e-mail systems on RIM's signature push service, which gets messages out to phones in real-time. Apple's iPhones can support push mail through Exchange and a handful of other services but have often been excluded from workplaces through momentum and support concerns.
The iPhone has usually trailed in security most of all. It has relatively light encryption compared to the BlackBerry and has lacked protection entirely in certain areas, such as third-party apps or VPNs. Companies have also objected to having to manage apps through iTunes servers. Most of these issues should be fixed in iPhone 4.0 and may be helped if the next iPhone has more advanced hardware encryption.
However, companies have both faced pressure from end users who want an iPhone for their own preferences and, unintentionally, from RIM itself. Although the prolems have since have settled down, BlackBerry services have periodically suffered outages that have disabled e-mail and other services, primarily for individual users. Corporate customers have usually been immune but can sometimes see a ripple effect through some of their users.