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Apple: 70% of Fortune 100 Companies Trying iPhones

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Apple (s aapl), as it is wont to do, blew the roof off with its first-quarter earnings results today. Some of the most interesting comments from the company’s results call concerned Apple’s emerging market of enterprise mobility.

It appears that early skepticism about the iPhone’s appeal beyond consumers may be falling by the wayside. Apple COO Tim Cook said corporate usage of the iPhone has doubled since this summer’s 3GS release, noting “This is a key focus of ours.” Some 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies are actively piloting or deploying iPhones, and 50 percent of the FTSE 100, according to Cook, who added, “Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you think that the time frame we’ve been in the business is only two and half years.” Corporate interest in the iPhone was driven by recent features adds (aka support for Microsoft Exchange) (s msft) and the 3GS launch, said Cook. Apple has also added sales staff to assist carrier staff in selling into the enterprise.

Cook said it was too early to comment on whether corporate iPhone use was driving a halo effect for Macs.

Apple faces a huge uphill battle in the corporate market, where RIM’s (s RIMM) BlackBerry is deeply entrenched. Though Apple now has a growing corporate app library on its side, the BlackBerry is still a much better email device, and of course offers the physical keyboard.

Cook also commented in some detail on iPhone use in Asia, another emerging market for the device. He said the company has activated more than 200,000 units in China, with the iPhone growing more than 500 percent in Asia Pacific overall. Apple’s revenues in greater China tripled in the last year, though Cook said the company is fine with moving more slowly in that market as it builds a long-term brand.

18 Responses to “Apple: 70% of Fortune 100 Companies Trying iPhones”

  1. bonelyfish

    If iPhone is moving into enterprise, there is one thing curious hits me. How can a company deploy custom iPhone application without going through the App Store? I think this is an important issue.

  2. @Constable Odo: Have you ever heard of haptic technology (tactile feedback)? Apple has filed a patent around it. I guess it will come on all their handheld devices. When this happens, physical keyboard will become totally irrelevant. Haptic screen will not only be multi-touch (so very flexible in term of display) but will also bring all the feelings and sensations a physical keyboard does. Believe me, Apple know what they are doing.

    1. Exchange works great on the iPhone (better than Android and most other ‘smartphones’.

    2. I’m not a fast typist but easily kept up with a dedicated crackberry user in a typing test (boy was she pissed!)

  3. Constable Odo

    So basically, the iPhone can never be a corporate road warrior’s tool on account of it doesn’t have a keyboard for doing e-mail? Then I guess the tablet won’t be of much use to corporations, either.

    Does anyone know what the main reason for users not liking virtual keyboards? Is there a problem with password entry or just the generalized slower speed of data entry? I’m sure the BlackBerry is a very capable product and maybe the best suited for e-mail. Because if it’s only the keyboard that’s hindering the iPhone’s entry into the corporate world, then maybe Apple really is throwing away a good opportunity to get extra revenue. I guess all those pilot programs will be a waste of time.

  4. I personally can’t believe that those numbers are accurate. The Blackberry is head and shoulders above the iPhone for email as anyone who has used both can tell you. It’s contact management application is much more user-friendly and of course the physical keyboard is infinitely easier to type on than the iPhone’s touchscreen version (yes, I’ve used both). I can see some corporations piloting the iPhone but as far as long-term implementation over the Blackberry, those days seem far away.

    • Not sure what happened to the first half of that reply but I’ll post it below:

      I call BS on those numbers…

      The iPhone can’t properly handle .ICS meeting invites that don’t come from an exchange account. EVERY OTHER SMARTPHONE handles ICS meeting requests regardless of source. Until Apple can fix that, I don’t see HOW they could be used by 70% of the Fortune 100. Not everyone uses Microsoft Exchange/Outlook.

    • Microsoft should also help themselves by dropping the price of hosted Exchange and ensuring complete sync on all major mobile operating systems. It’s too late for the consumer market, but they’re about to lose business and government if they can’t spend 0.0002% of their annual development budget on this.