The Palm Pre certainly has potential, but it isn't gaining traction. Verizon has reportedly ditched plans to offer the Palm Pre early next year, due to poor sales at Sprint -- the Pre's exclusive U.S. carrier. Windows Mobile? Give me a break. That platform is in disarray; even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says his company "screwed up with Windows Mobile." Google's Android has potential, but it's too soon to say if it will bear enterprise fruit. The first several device models, as well as the first couple versions of the OS, have been lackuster.
I can't explain Apple's actions, and because the company has pretty much clammed up about the lapse, we may never understand it. I know that Apple can be arrogant and difficult, but in the larger sense this is out of character. The Mac platform, largely because it is so tightly controlled by Apple, has always been superior to Windows. Mac users have been spared the lunatic complications and incompatibilities presented by Windows (and DOS before it) that were an outgrowth of a platform (not an OS) controlled by no one.
Had Apple chosen a lower-margin model, it might well have become the dominant business PC platform. But instead it offered a trade-off: a better experience for a lot more money. Business didn't go for it. And now in the mobile world, Apple is tarnishing its reputation for excellence by acting like some two-bit seller of Windows white boxes. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Corporate management pressures IT
There is a bit more blame to apportion. Corporate management (in general, not just Apple's) played a role here. Forrester analyst John Kinderbag says there's a lot of pressure on IT to deploy the iPhone within the enterprise. "CEOs fall in love with the iPhone and say to IT, 'Make it work.''' There's a willingness to push security concerns aside, he says.
The ultimate victim of all this will be the user who needs and desires support for mobile 2.0 within the enterprise. As one InfoWorld editor put it: "The BlackBerry has become the Lotus Notes of the mobile world." What a shame that we may be stuck with it.
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