AT&T Says 40% of iPhones Sold to Businesses
AT&T revealed today that 40% of its iPhone sales since the beginning of the year have been to business customers, suggesting that the iPhone is beginning to challenge the dominance of the BlackBerry in the enterprise market. Though AT&T Business Solutions CEO Ron Spears wouldn't say how many iPhones the company has sold, analysts estimate that the number is about 15 million. Research in Motion claims a worldwide BlackBerry user base of 41 million.
According to a report on ZDNet's "Between the Lines" blog
, Spears made his comments at the Barclays Capital Communications, Media and Technology conference today. The exec attributed the initial reluctance on the part of businesses had to do with security, which was not seen as particularly strong on the iPhone. "What most people heard in the first year from ‘07 to ‘08 was oh my God, it’s not BlackBerry secure," he said. "This is not going to work on the enterprise space." By the time the 3G was released in 2008, however, most of the security issues were solved. The 3GS, Spears said, was seen by corporate information systems planners as a mobile computer, and is replacing laptops for some business users. "If they’ve got a field service force that needs one or two applications on a daily basis," Spears asked rhetorically, "do they need to go out and spend $1,000 or $1,200 for a laptop and then worry about sort of the lifecycle costs of keeping up with the laptop?"
The iPhone has a long way to go to catch up, however. A recent NPD study showed BlackBerry is on top of the US smartphone market, accounting for 36% of sales in the first quarter of this year. The iPhone got a 21% share, behind Android-powered devices which made up 28% of sales in the same period.