Security holes in any applications are bad enough. Covering them up is even worse. But what's really, really bad about Apple's iPhone security screwup is this: It deals a body blow to true mobility for business users just as the future was looking brighter than ever. The only possible winner in this mess is RIM, whose BlackBerry remains the favorite messaging device for business users but that still offers relatively primitive Web access and add-on applications.
Ironically, Apple's faux pas came as third-party vendors were ramping efforts to make enterprise security and management support for the iPhone much simpler. But now that Apple has given IT reasons to mistrust the company, it's hard to picture widespread business adoption of the iPhone, the poster child of mobile 2.0. Yes, Google's Android is in the wings, but it's too soon to know if that new platform will be competitive, and given that Motorola is carrying the ball, I'm not overly optimistic. Likewise, the Palm Pre's lackluster sales and weak enterprise security don't give me much hope it can pick up the mobile 2.0 banner from Apple.
[ Verizon's grand plan is to make mobile OSes unimportant, InfoWorld's Neil McAllister explains. Should you be worried? | Check out the InfoWorld slideshow "BlackBerry vs. iPhone, side by side." ]
In short, mobile 2.0 for business is in big trouble.
Apple versus Exchange
In case you missed it, here's a summary of the iPhone security incident: Shortly after iPhone 3.1 was released in early September, many users were surprised to find that their iPhones and iPod Touches (with the exception of the 3G S) were unable to sync with Exchange, a very big deal indeed. It turned out the problem was within the bug fix, which is what a dot-one release is generally about.