But here's the weird part: The bug fix stopped the iPhone from reporting to Exchange that it supported on-device security, which it doesn't. Instead, the device had been, well, lying to Exchange when it reported that it supported that security measure. Because the change happened as the result of a bug fix, it's logical to assume that Apple knew that the iPhone and iPod Touch did not support on-device security, but never shared that knowledge with IT.
My colleague Galen Gruman has repeatedly sought an explanation of this from Apple but has not received one. I can't say I'm speechless, since I'm writing about it, but Apple's duplicity or gross naïveté truly boggles my mind.
Think about the implications of this mess. There are all sorts of serious regulations mandating that e-mail and other corporate data remain secure, particularly HIPAA and, to a lesser extent, Sarbanes-Oxley. Simply put, companies that allowed certain types of data to be handled via the iPhone were violating the law. Will anyone be prosecuted? Not likely, but if I were a compliance officer in an enterprise, I would certainly take immediate notice and shut down iPhone access to Exchange.
Network security is an extremely complex beast, and IT relies on a significant level of trust for its vendors. But when a vendor knowingly misrepresents its capabilities, that trust vanishes. What a blow to Apple, a company that was never strong in the mainstream business market, but had a chance to make a run for it via the iPhone.
iPhone alternatives are weak
The BlackBerry is really good at one thing: messaging. It's not nearly as good for mobile 2.0 applications. I'm not saying it doesn't offer Web access and so on, but it doesn't perform those functions very well.
iTunes is bursting with 85,000 apps for the iPhone; the BlackBerry store has just a fraction of that total. To be fair, let's acknowledge that iTunes sports plenty of junk applications, but even when those are discounted, the difference between the platforms is staggering