Four out of 10 iPhones sold to enterprise users, says AT&T exec

But that's not the same as saying 40% of sales are made to businesses

Four out of 10 sales of iPhones are made to enterprise users, according to Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T's Business Solutions unit, in comments at a financial conference on Thursday.

While that is an impressive figure, it is not quite the same as saying that 40% of iPhones are bought by businesses, which is how some reports have interpreted Spear's comments.

In fact, analysts say it is probably true that 40% of iPhone users buy the smartphone and then use it for personal as well as basic work tasks such as access to e-mail.

"I'd believe that four out of 10 purchasers of iPhone also use them in business, but to say that 40% of iPhones are being bought by enterprises -- that's ludicrous," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

Spears made the comment that "four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users" during a Barclays Capital Communications, Media and Technology conference. An audio recording of his comments is available on the Barclays site.

But at least one report, on ZDnet, wrote this headline from Spears' comments: "AT&T exec: 4 out of 10 of our iPhone sales to enterprises." Gold said for that to be true, 4 million or more iPhones have been bought by large companies, which he doesn't believe is so. "I believe Spears is spinning things," Gold said.

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Inc., said the 40% use of the iPhone by users who also work in enterprises concurs with Gartner's findings. He said the price and service for the iPhone makes it "more relevant for those people who want it for work and consumer scenarios."

He said most of the people in that group are only using the iPhone for e-mail, personal calendar, browsing and voice calls, and not to access corporate applications.

"It would not be accurate for people to conclude [from Spears' comments] that people are building comprehensive applications for offline iPhone operation to the degree that is even found on RIM Blackberries." He said some corporate browser applications for the iPhone are being built but are still limited.

Dulaney also questioned another suggestion Spears made at the Barclays conference; that the iPhone is being used as a laptop replacement. "There is not 100% compatibility with a notebook, and while they probably mean you can live for a while [with an iPhone or smartphone] and without a laptop, ultimately everyone needs either a PC or a Mac to do heavy content creating and analysis."

Spears actually said that some businesses are able to buy an iPhone instead of a laptop, for example, for field workers who only need one or two corporate applications on a daily basis. "Do they need to go out and spend $1,000 or $1,200 for a laptop and then worry about ... the lifecycle costs of keeping up with the laptop?" Spears asked. "It's sort of the ultimate in mobile computing."

Spears also said that with the innovation of the iPhone 3GS last summer, "most CIOs will tell you today they have very few issues around the security." Gold said he disagreed with that assessment, although there's wide concensus that each update of the iPhone has become more secure, and the coming iPhone 4 OS will be even more secure .

In April, Apple said the iPhone OS 4 would have support for SSL VPN via apps from Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems, an improvement from Cisco's IPSec VPN in current versions. Also applications and e-mail will be protected via a device passcode.

Apple has made a steady, if muted, appeal to business and enterprise customers, even if many of the iPhones come into business use through individual workers who also want them for personal reasons. Apple has a page on its Web site saying of the iPhone: "the best phone for business just got better."

The page includes information on how both Apple and AT&T work together on enterprise rate plans.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleat&tiPhone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?