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Sybase iPhone Support for Notes, Exchange

When Apple touts its new iPhone 3G as enterprise-ready, exhibit A is its deal with Microsoft to include support for the software giant's Exchange communications software. However, IT departments have other choices to bringing the iPhone into the corporate e-mail infrastructure.

Sybase supports a range of devices with wireless e-mail access, management and security features through its iAnywhere suite that covers both Exchange and Lotus Notes. It already offered support to the first iPhone and today extended that to the iPhone 3G.

"Our value proposition has always been that we provide a single infrastructure for management and security across multiple devices," Senthil Krishnapillai, Director of Product Management at Sybase iAnywhere, told InternetNews.com. For example, Apple doesn't offer support for Notes which has about 100 million mailboxes worldwide, mostly in larger enterprises."

While Apple was more compelled to make a deal with Microsoft for Exchange, Sybase got on the iPhone bandwagon earlier with support for Exchange.

Instead of waiting for Apple's online App Store, Sybase took advantage of Apple's initial opening to developers to make applications available via Apple's Safari browser. That's the basis of Sybase's current offering, though Krishnapillai said it's working on migrating to the App Store support.

"For now we're using iMap and Safari so there's no reason to go through the App Store," said Krishnapillai. "In subsequent releases we will and we're working with Apple to offer that in a short period of time. But this is a way for customers to support the iPhone now with a completely encrypted, end-to-end solution." He added that Sybase plans to make the later transition to the App Store "seamless" for customers.

Analyst Roger Kay said that Sybase is, at a minimum, providing a good transition path for enterprises that want to add iPhones. For now, he said most enterprises "are loath to go through the App Store" because it's another layer outside the firewall IT has to deal with.

"Apple's initial strategy and business model for the iPhone has been clear and sharp for consumers," Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, told InternetNews.com. "Here's the deal: 'Good, better, best, no exceptions.' Apple pretty much dictates the relationship, which is something it likes to do.

"But in the enterprise, it's more common for suppliers to make nice with customers and cut deals with big customers." Kay adds that Apple lacks the resources, if not the resolve, of companies like HP and IBM to actively pursue enterprise customers and it stands to benefit from having the support of companies like Sybase.

Sybase offers a free, 30-day trial download of its iAnywhere Mobile Office for the iPhone

By this fall, Krishnapillai said Sybase plans to enhance its iAnywhere Mobile Office with additional components including push e-mail, contacts, corporate directory and calendar access.