The iPhone: Why one little gadget matters so much

It has to be destined for the enterprise

Also, while there are some companies that support just one platform -- Windows Mobile or BlackBerry, for instance -- IT eventually may have to support multiple platforms whether they like it or not, including iPhone, says Rob Dalgety, marketing director for Mformation, a mobile device management software company.

Windows Mobile and BlackBerry may be dominant in the United States but the market is likely to become fragmented as more employees further down the corporate ladder use mobile applications, sometimes on their personal cell phones, Dalgety says. "If you start expecting more employees to be accessing enterprise applications deeper into the organization, sometimes that will not be done on an enterprise-owned device. That implies that fragmentation is going to be quite pervasive across the enterprise," he explains.

Accounting for seepage

The iPhone also can seep into the enterprise at companies adopting the software-as-a-service model. For example, subscribers will be able to use the applications on iPhones, the company says, because that software is delivered to them online.

But for a few business people, the iPhone's appeal as a consumer device is precisely why it's perfect for their business.

For The Hyperfactory, a 60-person mobile advertising company in New York, the iPhone helps in sales pitches, says sales executive Nicole Amodeo. She and company Vice President Gil Martinez pair their iPhones with their MacBook laptops to serve clients.

"The iPhone is a good thing for mobile advertising," Amodeo says, because its browser delivers the same image of the Web as seen on desktop or notebook computers, rather than the scaled down Web on other smart phones. "I actually have the Web on my phone."

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Robert Mullins

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