Swedish tabloid buys 700 iPhones

Sweden's largest tabloid Aftonbladet has decided to equip 700 of its employees with iPhones.

Sweden's largest tabloid newspaper, Aftonbladet, will be the first company in the nation to use a new iPhone-based enterprise package from TeliaSonera as it equips 700 of its employees with iPhones.

TeliaSonera has an exclusive deal with Apple in Sweden.

The tabloid's goal is to get as many employees as possible to use the iPhone as their only office phone, but for more advanced users like Aftonbladet's customer services staff that might prove difficult at first, according to Carolin Molander, technical coordinator and project manager at Aftonbladet.

The interest from consumers for the iPhone has so far been huge, and the enterprise market is next, according to Sverker Hannervall, head of Business Services at TeliaSonera in Sweden.

TeliaSonera expects the iPhone's ease of use to score primarily with media companies, ad agencies and other enterprise sectors where Apple has a strong presence, according to a spokeswoman.

The package includes a mobile switch, mobile broadband access and a build out of coverage and capacity in Aftonbladet's offices. The paper will pay a fixed monthly fee per user, but Aftonbladet and TeliaSonera are keeping the specifics to themselves.

The iPhone is unique in the way it changes how people behave with their mobile phones and Aftonbladet wants to take advantage of that, according to Molander.

Every enterprise that starts to use the iPhone on this scale is a step in the right direction for Apple. But, at the same time, the company has a lot of work to do before it will be in a position to really compete with the likes of Microsoft, Research In Motion and Nokia, according Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight.

"The fact is that they've got mail for Exchange available now on the iPhone, but in terms of security, scalability and a broad range of hardware at a variety of price points to meet enterprise demand they are simply not there yet," he said.

At the same time it would be dangerous to underestimate Apple, and the work it is doing with companies like Salesforce.com, according to Blaber. Salesforce.com offers an application that lets iPhone users access its customer relationship management system.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service

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