Apple 2.0

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Gartner flips its iPhone bozo bit, gives IT the green light

March 20, 2008: 7:59 AM ET

picture-83.pngIn the weeks before the iPhone was released last June, there were few analysts more reviled by Apple (AAPL) enthusiasts than Gartner's Ken Delanay.

On June 19, ten days before the device went on sale, he gave it the information technology kiss of death. "We're telling IT executives to not support it because Apple has no intentions of supporting (iPhone use in) the enterprise," he told Network World's Jon Brodkin. "This is basically a cellular iPod with some other capabilities and it's important that it be recognized as such." (link)

Then, on the eve of iDay, as eager buyers by the thousands camped out overnight waiting for the doors of Apple stores to open, he followed up with a research note. "General requests to support iPhone should not be fulfilled," he recommended, and then ticked off seven reasons the iPhone was not fit for corporate enterprises. (link)

So it is with some irony that Ken Delaney is listed as the principal author of the five page report titled "Gartner Changes its iPhone Enterprise Recommendations." It begins:

The iPhone will soon be tailored for enterprises. Gartner recommends "appliance-level" support status once firmware 2.0 and improvements are released. iPhone will become a popular tool alongside BlackBerry and Microsoft devices.

The full report is available here for $95, but there's a summary at Computerworld.com here. It notes that although Gartner has upgraded the iPhone from the lowest level (concierge) of its three-tiered rating system to the middle (appliance), it has withheld the top rating (platform) because Apple is the only supplier that makes the device -- as if licensing firmware to iPhone cloners would make it more secure.

Of course, the reason Gartner changed its tune is that Apple's enterprise roadmap and SDK took pains to address each item in the IT wishlist. (See here.) It should be noted, however, that several of Delaney's original seven objections remain unanswered, including "no removable battery" and "only one carrier operator (AT&T)." Full list here.

We're still waiting for a change of signals from Forrester Research, whose 10 reasons not to support the iPhone created such a stirĀ in December.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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