RealTime IT News

Sybase Broadens iPhone's Enterprise Appeal

When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently unveiled its enterprise strategy for the iPhone, it gave a list of features it said were the most requested by the IT managers it surveyed.

Indeed, Apple was credited with reaching out to sometime rival Microsoft to offer native support for Exchange and ActiveSync technology to better secure and integrate with corporate e-mail systems. Push e-mail and the ability to remotely "wipe" the iPhone clean if lost or stolen were also high on the list.

But Apple didn't address the millions of users of the Lotus Domino e-mail server or extend device management very far beyond the ability to remotely wipe the device.

Enter Sybase, which today extended its iAnywhere Suite to support the iPhone. The initial offering, available now, doesn't address the iPhone natively using Apple's software development kit (SDK), though a later version will.

The SDK was only recently announced in beta test format. For now, Sybase is offering wireless e-mail services for Exchange and Domino via Apple's Safari browser.

"We're going to be able to enhance these services in the second half of the year, but the good news is we can offer this all sooner," Senthil Krishnapillai, director of product management at Sybase's iAnywhere mobile collaborations group. Sybase's iPhone support is slated to be available the end of this month.

Krishnapillai said Sybase is using the IMAP Internet e-mail protocol with enhanced security features of its own that have already passed muster with its corporate customers. He also argued that Apple's Exchange support offers only basic management features. "In order to update a client device, it falls very short," said Krishnapillai.

Jack Gold, president of J. Gold Associates, agrees Sybase is offering security and management features IT departments have come to expect.

"Sybase is offering a layer of security Apple doesn't have," Gold told InternetNews.com. He said, for example, Sybase adds a layer of encryption that could be a crucial feature for IT departments concerned about lost or stolen iPhones.

"Apple's going to let you wipe the device remotely with Exchange," said Gold, "but it might be days before it's reported missing, or if it's stolen, someone could turn off the radio for remote access and take their time getting at what's inside."

Other features of Sybase's iAnywhere suite includes access to e-mail on and offline, secure access to contact data including corporate directories and multi-device support. Sybase said in addition to iPhone, iAnywhere supports more than 250 Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm-based devices.

Gold said the new Sybase offering would be especially attractive to existing Sybase customers who already have all the back-end service installed and only need to pay for the number of additional licenses they need for iPhone users.