In comparing the RIM BlackBerry Bold to the Apple iPhone 3G, after a month-long test of each, I declared that it was time to bury the Blackberry, as it was mediocre in its signature mail functions and pathetic in next-gen mobile capabilities such as Web browsing and applications. I got many heated replies, such as this one from reader Mortys11 (a comments handle, as with the other names cited): "Who is this guy? He must be on the Apple payroll because any tech writer with half a brain would never claim that the BlackBerry is an inferior e-mail device." (Sorry, I do not work, and have never worked, for Apple. I do use a Mac, but until Vista I had used Windows XP.) Smalpre says, "I would have to declare the writer of this article a completely incompetent nontechnical person that obviously has never had a 'real job' in IT."
[ See what the fuss is all about in InfoWorld's "Deathmatch: BlackBerry verusus iPhone 3.0" | Watch our slideshow comparing the iPhone 3.0 and BlackBerry Bold. ]
If security and compliance is an issue, the iPhone is out of luck
But there were also rational objections, centered around the iPhone's fit, or lack thereof, in an enterprise setting where data security and policy management was essential, such as for regulated companies. Reader Amadc summarizes that sentiment: "I agree the iPhone is excellent and outshines the current RIM offering in many ways but until central management and security are on par with BlackBerry devices, the iPhone will never take hold in the enterprise. The BlackBerry can't be buried, there is nothing to take its place. As much as some would like it to be replaced with the iPhone, it's not feasible right now." Reader MobileAdmin also emphasized the security and management issues critical to many in IT: "BES [BlackBerry Enterprise Server] provides total control and policy to enforce whatever security you want no matter how granular. iPhone has a small subset of Exchange ActiveSync, period. It's like BES circa 2002."
Smalpre gives a detailed criticism of what the iPhone lacks that BlackBerry (and Windows Mobile) do provide to corporate IT: "No enterprise management solution exists. This is okay for a SOHO, but for any business with more than a few hundred users it is unmanageable. No centralized enterprise device encryption products that meet HIPAA, SOX, SEC, or any other form of compliance requirements. In other words I cannot prove beyond my word that a device is encrypted if it is stolen and contained sensitive information. This leaves most U.S. corporations liable to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time." No arguments there, and I did acknowledge this in my review. I just wonder if these standards are enforced on laptops, thumb drives, and other devices. My reporting says that more often than not, they're not enforced, but of course that doesn't mean a failure on conforming to policy on those devices should permit a poor implementation policy on mobile.