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iPhone Finding Success in the Enterprise

It's no secret that the iPhone is a fast-rising champ in the consumer smartphone market, but now it's poised to reign supreme in the business market too, due to its intuitive interface, superior browsing experience and rapidly evolving developer tool kit, according to Forrester report issued yesterday.

In his study, "Making iPhone Work In The Enterprise: Early Lessons Learned," Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler said the iPhone has successfully been integrated into several major enterprises, like Kraft Foods, Oracle and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

Schadler said the new indicates the iPhone may be capable of taking on Research in Motion's BlackBerry in its field of dominance -- the workplace.

"The iPhone's intuitive interface, superior browsing experience, and rapidly evolving developer tool kit make content-centric applications far more appealing on an iPhone than on a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device," Schadler wrote. "While BlackBerry is still the e-mail and calendaring winner, iPhone devotees do make the shift to typing on glass."

The news comes at a time when the smartphone market continues to post modest gains despite the recession and competition heats up as rivals gun for the lion's share of the market. Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) is pushing ahead in its do-or-die plan to release its Pre smartphone by June, while Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is thought to be readying its new iPhone. Meanwhile, Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) plans to roll out updates to the BlackBerry Storm, while a slew of Android-based phones are expected from Samsung, HTC and even hardware-maker Acer.

The Forrester data also signifies a change of position in terms of the iPhone's dominance in the marketplace -- the research company in December 2007 had issued a report called "The iPhone is Not Meant for Enterprises."

So, what's changed?

For starters, the Forrester report said it's hard to deny the iPhone's ability to woo new consumers -- which makes it hard to deny them a place in the office. "In this era of Technology Populism, where consumer IT is often better than enterprise IT, it sometimes just makes sense to give employees the freedom to choose the tools they want."

The report also cited one IT exec, who said "If an employee owns his own device, the phone tends to hit the pavement a lot less."

Schadler also said in his report that the iPhone makes for simpler mobile collaboration and Web use.

"As anybody with experience on both iPhones and BlackBerry will tell you, the Internet feels natural on an iPhone and a like a chore on a BlackBerry," he wrote in the report.

[cob:Special_Report]iPhone users also need less hand-holding, Forrester said, pointing out that iPhone users at Kraft Foods, Oracle and Amylin Pharmaceuticals have each set up wikis to give each other support for the devices -- and cited one IT staffer as saying that "overall, they provide better support than we can."

Additionally, the iPhone may actually be proving cheaper in the long run for other ways -- an important selling point in today's era of cost-cutting.

"In at least one case, an iPhone adopter found that the data plans for previous mobile devices were more expensive than the consumer plans AT&T is offering for iPhones," the report said. "This company was able to reset its baseline plan pricing 30 percent lower for all phones because it supported iPhone."

Page 2: But is IT ready for the iPhone?