Why wait? Computerworld does a pre-hatchet job on the iPhone.

The FUD campaign against the iPhone is really ramping up.

First, there’s the reported FUD campaign by ZDNet. Now, there’s a report by Gartner telling businesses to avoid the iPhone. But, get this, the report won’t be released until next week, so to get double the press and double the impact (and double the FUD) Computerworld Malaysia has a issued a report on the report!

You see, this way they can decry the iPhone for business now, and also decry it later when the report is actually published. It’s a two-fer!

So what’s in the report? Well, since it isn’t published yet we don’t know for sure, but it appears to go along the same lines we’ve heard before. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney has plenty to say.

“We’re telling IT executives to not support it because Apple has no intentions of supporting (iPhone use in) the enterprise,”

I don’t think Apple turns down enterprise money, nor do I think they refuse service to them. They don’t hump their leg like Microsoft does, but the idea that Apple has “no intentions” of supporting the iPhone in an enterprise environment is just silly.

“Besides lacking security features like a firewall, the product does not support Microsoft Exchange”

Does Apple not get points for running a secure Operating System in OS X? Further, what about that fact that Apple has (so far) closed the device to third-party apps? Does the IT group have any idea what third-party crap is being downloaded by a user and put on their smartphone? Do you think there may be a security risk there? Let’s face it, all this IT blather is simply about avoiding change, and “security” is always a great buzzword to throw around in order to maintain the status quo.

This is a personal device. So are the Blackberry’s and other smartphones that Gartner apparently thinks are locked up tight as a drum. The single biggest security risk for any of these devices is if someone steals it. Period. See how much help a firewall provides then.

As for Microsoft Exchange, in a somewhat rare move (for Microsoft), they allow one of their products to support an open standard. Exchange can do IMAP mail, which the iPhone fully supports. There are other solutions for getting email to the iPhone as well. The question isn’t that the iPhone doesn’t support it, the question is that IT groups don’t want to do it. For Blackberry support, a special server is required that runs ahead of Exchange. If IT groups could get the hang of that kind of proprietary setup, then the iPhone should be a breeze. Apple was wise to go with open standards and not develop yet another proprietary Exchange “solution”.

“Most corporations are probably not going to support the iPhone on their networks.”

What reference does Delaney use to backup this claim? None. How convenient.

“The high price tag – up to $599 – is exorbitant for most enterprises, he says. Even if the iPhone met the security requirements of an IT executive, there’s no real reason for employees to have one.”

Businesses spend far more than that for executive and management perks all the time. If a business wants the iPhone, price will be an absolute non-issue. That much should be obvious to anyone.

“Enterprises are not going to buy this so employees can buy music and watch movies,”

Oh please. So now the iPhone is some sort of toy? Sheesh, it’s the late ’80s all over again! Meanwhile, cell phone makers (including smartphones) have fallen all over themselves to get music and videos on their devices. If businesses don’t want employees playing music and watching videos, then they won’t have any devices to choose from!

As if the above from Gartner wasn’t enough, the article then talks to a 451 Analyst, Tony Rizzo, director of mobile technology research at the analyst firm, and he doesn’t stop the hatchet job at business, he gets his shots in at the iPhone even as a consumer device.

The Computerworld article is ostensibly about an upcoming Gartner report, so why are they talking to some other firm? Simple, Gartner has no problem with the iPhone as a consumer device, but in order for this hatchet job to be complete they must blast it at the consumer level as well. So they went out and got Tony.

What pearls of wisdom to we get from Mr. Rizzo? According to the article, Tony

“Thinks the new product won’t even live up to its hype as a consumer device.”

and

“doubts Apple’s assurance that the iPhone’s battery will provide up to eight hours of talk time, six hours of Internet use, seven hours of video, and 24 hours of music playback.”

Will the iPhone achieve it’s stated battery requirements? Probably not. Do other smartphones? No. Do other electronic devices? No. Do laptop computers? No. The stated requirements are best-case and usually don’t translate to the real world. Still, a jump from a stated five hours to a stated eight hours is very significant, and great news. There is every reason to believe the iPhone will have as good or better battery life than its competitors.

What else does Tony say? Well, there’s the usual stuff.

“The touch screen will disappoint both business users and consumers, such as young people who do lots of instant messaging and text messaging, he says.”

All this touch screen nonsense is getting old. Just once I’d like a so-called analyst to come up with something new. The alleged touchscreen problems are way overblown, so let that one go, guys. Then Tony tells us

“It doesn’t have any features that would make it successful as a business tool.”

Full web browsing, WiFi, easy to use phone, speaker phone, long battery life, visual voice-mail, rich text email, full IMAP and POP (open standards) email support, Google Maps, yep, nothing a business user could want. Geez, Tony, could you at least, you know, analyze if you’re going to call yourself an analyst?

In summary, the article is a pre-hatchet job so they can essentially report the same story twice while making it appear as two separate articles. Further, since Gartner thinks the iPhone is fine as a consumer device, Computerworld deliberately pulled in Tony Rizzo to blast it at the consumer level as well. Bottom line is that an article ostensibly aimed at business is actually just a FUD piece about the iPhone in general.

Sadly, with 10 days to go before the iPhone launch, it’s clear that FUD in the form of these kinds of pathetic and shoddy articles is only going to get a lot worse.

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4 thoughts on “Why wait? Computerworld does a pre-hatchet job on the iPhone.

  1. Richard,

    Great question. Maybe it has a firewall after all? Some of these things we may not know until it’s actually available.

  2. Anonymous #1,

    Great stuff, thanks!

    Honestly, I think it’s less the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, and more just covering all the bases based on the group they’re posturing towards.

    The discrepancies don’t bother them much, as they figure most people won’t notice anyway.

  3. Another thing, why won’t the iPhone have a firewall? Mac OS X does…

  4. From Gartner to Gartner:

    Here are some bold statements from Gartner at the ITxpo 2007 few months ago in San Francisco:

    Consumerization will be the most significant trend affecting IT during the next 10 years (0.8 probability).

    Through 2012, the majority of new IT technologies that enterprises adopt will have their roots in the consumer market (0.8 probability).

    Through 2011, enterprises which can balance the opportunities from combining consumer IT with established systems and processes will achieve significant rewards in cost containment and productivity (0.7 probability).

    Enterprises should consider proactively managing the transition toward consumer-based technology in order to avoid traumatic and disruptive change.

    By 2012, at least one of the following will win new standing in the enterprise market: Sony, Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Google, eBay and Samsung (0.6 probability).

    Gartner’s Conclusion and Recommendations

    Get out of denial. Recognize the reality of the impact of consumer IT in all aspects of enterprise IT and infrastructure. The status quo is going to change.

    Don’t try to stop it. You will fail. But you can manage it with education and a realistic and pragmatic approach

    A proactive approach to relieve pressures as they build will be better than waiting for tectonic shifts

    Keep an open mind, and watch consumer activities and technologies carefully. Watch and listen to your children if necessary

    You ain’t seen nothing yet. This trend is still in its infancy. Prepare for the ride of your life

    Gartner’s analyst should read what their colleagues wrote before making bold statements about the iPhone.

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