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6/17/2009
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iPhone Gets Enterprise IT Boost From Startup Apperian

Apple's lack of interest in being a major player in enterprise IT has opened the door for Apperian to work with large corporations to develop applications for the iPhone.

Why hasn't the iPhone made significant inroads into enterprise IT?

Because the iPhone isn't quite ready, said Chuck Goldman, who for years ran Apple's effort to market the company's products to IT executives in enterprises. Now CEO of startup Apperian Mobility Solutions, Goldman said the time for the iPhone to make inroads in large companies is rapidly approaching.

"Once IT departments get more comfortable with security, you're going to see a lot more companies buying a lot of iPhones," Goldman said in an interview this week following his pitch to a group of mostly developers in Cambridge, Mass. "The sky's the limit."

Apperian has been quietly working with several large companies to bring the iPhone into their IT operations. While Goldman won't talk about specifics, he said, for instance, that Kraft Foods has 3,000 iPhones ready to be pressed into action when the time is right -- when an application is ready.

The big holdup in getting the iPhone into enterprises has been over security, but Goldman said recent improvements by Apple in iPhone security are encouraging IT managers to examine and plan for deployments of iPhones in several large corporations Apperian is working with. "There are literally thousands of iPhone orders that have been waiting over security [issues]," he said.

One key breakthrough is the capability in the iPhone's 3.0 software -- released to the public this week -- to enable IT departments to wipe an iPhone clean from servers if the handset is lost or otherwise compromised. In addition, full-disk encryption, enabling the securitization of data, is now available for the iPhone.

As the former director of field engineering and professional services at Apple, Goldman closed many successful enterprise deals, but in the end Apple just didn't want to be a major player in enterprise IT. But that situation presented an opportunity for a company that would work with large corporations to develop applications for the iPhone. Because the iPhone has many individual users in enterprises, the device is working its way into enterprise computing in a way that has prompted Goldman to call the iPhone a "Trojan horse" that is creating "the consumerization of IT."

In addition to its founding group of executives from Apple, Motorola, and General Dynamics, Apperian has been signing up developers to work with a lineup of corporations to develop their applications. Using Bluetooth and advanced graphics, Goldman said the end-user applications for and by large corporations should start hitting the market soon.

Given the iPhone product and Goldman's past employment at Apple, many wonder whether Apple itself could be an investor in the company. Goldman won't say, but he said there will be an announcement about the firm's investors in a month or so.


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