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
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