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Apple Targeting Business World for the iPhone 338

The New York Times is running a couple of stories about the future of the iPhone in the business world and Apple's plan to maintain control of application development. Now that the iPhone SDK has been released and the "App store" has been demonstrated, Steve Jobs is pushing for the adoption of the iPhone as a standard business tool. In addition, a venture capitalist named John Doerr has launched a $100 million "iFund" to spur development of applications for the iPhone. From the NYTimes: "Mr. Jobs was upfront that there are limitations on what applications can do. He talked about bans on pornography and malicious programs. He also said Apple will not allow any application to be installed on the machine other than through the iTunes store. Nor will applications be permitted that enable an end run around Apple's deals with wireless carriers. Many questions remain unanswered. How much streaming video will Apple allow, because the iPhone is such an interesting video device? Mr. Jobs did say that the application development environment will have a lot of capabilities for video playback. Will Apple allow a service like Last.FM to offer streaming music on the iPhone?"
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Apple Targeting Business World for the iPhone

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  • Limitations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:18AM (#22674216)
    Those limitations aren't really limitations. They're just no-brainers. There is almost nothing you can't do with the SDK.
  • Who is John Doerr? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chiph ( 523845 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:25AM (#22674278)

    In addition, a venture capitalist named John Doerr

    If you don't know who John Doerr [] is by now, you need to turn in your Silicon Valley geek credentials.

    Chip H.
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:28AM (#22674290) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure Apple is worried a lot about something that "looks like" a "potential", "future" winner.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:32AM (#22674310)
    I'm curious as to what you think they're dropping the ball on. Which of the limitations is a problem?

    The one thing I can see as a problem, is that enterprises are not going to like not being able to distribute internal software to them.

  • Android (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:42AM (#22674392)
    Apple has failed to notice that there is nothing the iPhone's OS does that Android cannot do. Slap Android on a pure touchscreen phone and what do you have?

    Oh, right. Instant replacement for the iPhone in the making, and it's open. Google is not being authoritarian like Apple.

    Even Nintendo was not this bad back with the NES. Dear God, you'd think that Jobs wanted to have his coveted little space, even if it's small, just because he can be king of the compost pile over there.
  • Fanbois... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:50AM (#22674444)

    The Exchange compatability is the best I've ever seen.
    So, just by looking at a _video_, you immediately decided its the _best ever_??? Thats lame even for a fanboi.
  • by Wingsy ( 761354 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:54AM (#22674472)
    If I'm not mistaken the App Store is going to have a private page accessible only to employees of a business for exactly that purpose.
  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:01AM (#22674524) Homepage Journal
    As I understand it, the SDK is free, but apps made with the free version can only be run on the iPhone simulator. If you pay $99, you can compile apps and beta test them on an iPhone connected to the dev machine with the standard cable, as well as sell your apps through Apple.

    The big unanswered question for me is 'can I unplug my iPhone and still use my beta App?'. If the answer is yes, then open source software can be spread without going through Apple simply by sharing the source code. If this is the case then paying the developer fee amounts to unlocking the phone's app restrictions.

    Has anyone tried this yet?
  • by pev ( 2186 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:02AM (#22674550) Homepage

    since it is *MY* phone, why can't I do whatever *I* want to it?

    You can do whatever you want with it - it's just that Apple won't make it easy for you as that's their perogative. If you don't like it, don't whinge, buy an open platform instead. If you don't like the platforms that are available, get involved and create what you're looking for yourself. Once you've done that you can decide yourself what rights others have to do what they want with your device. If you've invested lots of time and money creating it maybe you might find that you want to look at things differently in order to recoup your costs...
  • Clearly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:11AM (#22674634)

    With Android looking like a (potentially future) winner, Apple are losing the chance to build up momentum as an open mobile platform for developers to experiment on.

    You state that with such unapologetic conviction I almost have to laugh. What market share does Android have right now? And why exactly are Apple losing momentum? They are offering an outstanding platform that is rapidly approaching maturation and has gotten fantastic adoption rates. Furthermore, the iPhone will soon lose the last barriers to enterprise adoption. Come back with some evidence, please.

  • John Doerr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark_in_Brazil ( 537925 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:11AM (#22674636)
    In my opinion, John Doerr is much more than "a" venture capitalist. Let me explain that statement in detail. Bear with me- I'm verbose, so it'll take a few paragraphs.
    Doerr is a really sharp guy who saw potential in companies like Compaq, Sun, Symantec, Netscape, Amazon, and Google. The thing is that Doerr knows how to look at a business plan, understand the market opportunity a company wants to try to exploit, and have an idea of how likely the company is to be successful at doing it. So yes, Netscape, Amazon, and Google were "internet companies," but they were also companies with business plans that had not-entirely-ridiculous paths to profitability. Keep in mind that VCs typically have an awful "batting average" and invest in a lot more duds than eventual superstars, but the really big successes are generally good enough to make the overall average ROI, including the flops, quite positive.
    A big part of the problem in the late 1990s is that a lot of VCs looked at Doerr's investments and basically came to this conclusion: "Doerr made a load of money for Kleiner Perkins by investing in the internet, so we have to invest in the internet." So in the late 1990s, many businesses that were basically "just like [whatever], but on the internet) were given ridiculous amounts of funding even when there was no clear path to profitability in the business plan. Yes, it's true that a VC firm can still make money in an environment like that of the mid-to-late 1990s by funding a company and taking it public as soon as it starts to show revenue growth, getting a big ROI on something that is never going to be profitable. But eventually the house of cards falls and then there's an overreaction as people say "oh, we lost all this money investing in the internet, so now we should avoid such investments," even when a good business plan appears.

    I worked at a software startup in 1999. We had tests done with major retailers that proved we could increase the profitability of a given category anywhere from 25% to over 100%, depending on what the retailer's strategy was for that category (read up on "category management" for more info on category strategies). In the meetings with arrogant moron VCs, the founders would tell them about this and show them the actual data that supported the claim, plus testimonials from executives in the (multi-billion dollar) retailers where the tests were done, and the VCs' eyes would kind of glaze over. As soon as the founders stopped talking, the VCs would say something like "uh huh... so, what's your internet story." I suggested to the guy who had the original idea for the company that we should change the name to "e-[original name of company].com" and we'd be swimming in money.
    The saddest thing was that apparently one such moron was from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, which was widely seen as the VC firm at the time, in no small part due to the remarkable business vision of John Doerr. It would have been more accurate, from what I heard from very reliable sources, to say that Kleiner Perkins was a good VC firm with VCs of varying quality (yes, a high average, though), and John Doerr was the venture capitalist.

    I'm not a fan of VCs in general, but I have a lot of respect for John Doerr. And if he's setting up a fund this big for iPhone app development, that makes me think very good things are coming for Apple through the iPhone. Very good things.
    As always, YMMV.
  • The flip side... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#22674822) Homepage
    The flip side tp all of this is the "App Store". By providing developers with an audience willing and able --and required-- to actually pay for their software, Apple is going to encourage the development of an avalanche of applications for the iPhone platform.

    No more hoping that more than one user out of a hundred will pay the shareware fee or make a "donation". No more playing whack-a-mole with crack sites and serial numbers. And by promoting that development, and by providing the marketplace, Apple stands a very good chance of becoming a dominant player in the marketplace based on the strength of all of those applications.

    See: Apple's Magical Mystical Application Store []
  • Re:Limitations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bizard ( 691544 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:31AM (#22674860)
    So all of those corporate blackberries out there are a myth? There it's even worse since all of their e-mail (read sensitive data) is passing through a single third party's servers. And as for competitive bidding, that will still come down to the software vendor and the vendor can make a specific deal with the corporation and give it to them to load through their corporate App Store.
  • The Fortune Magazine article, The iPhone gets a $100 million iFund [], says:

    In typical Silicon Valley hyperbole Doerr summed up the move as the beginning of a new world order. The iPhone, he said, is "bigger than the personal computer..."

    The iPhone is locked to one provider. The iPhone will soon have unlocked competitors. It certainly will never be "bigger than the personal computer". The iPhone is basically only another cellular phone, and most people use their phones only to make phone calls.

    Apparently the figure of $100 million being mentioned is just a maximum. The real amount invested could be minimal. The amount invested, which may be small, will get the investing company 30% of the entire income, the article says.
  • by aarond ( 38076 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#22674898)
    Wow, even though I should know better after reading comments on slashdot for years the ignorance does still surprise me.

    1. the phone is not 3G, a 3G model should be out this year. Non multitasking? Meaning what, you want your phone to compress video for you while u talk? I can take notes, and use apps while on the phone so not sure what you mean. But you did throw the words bling-bling in to look like you are hip and know what you are talking about so i must be wrong here.

    2. So since other organizations can't get developers, you do not think that Apple can? People want to develop for this platform so much that they are doing whatever they can to get on it, see [] . Not to even mention the 100 million dollar venture capitol fund for iphone apps that was shown off too.

    3. So its so popular that people will do anything to be able to use one. Apple might not make the extra $ each month from these users but they are making money on each sale, and all those sales are just adding to marketshare.

    4. Huh? Do you mean that a developer won't be able to make money writing iphone apps? You are seriously saying that the average developer would do better just putting up a web page and marketing their apps themselves rather than have it shown on a store dedicated to the iphone? Joe Schmoe can get the same exposure on the store as Adobe if they write a good app, thats very powerful for developers.

    5. So what? Seriously, But also lets look at it the other way, did you watch the video from the event? Check the 5 developers that had 2 weeks to build apps. That was damned impressive. In some cases they started from scratch, and in some cases they just modified their existing code.

    6. Not quite sure what you mean here, do you mean apple buying the companies/people that do the best apps? Or what?

    It seems like people just want something to bitch about rather than using your heads.
  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#22674938) Homepage
    "... your code will need lots of adaptation to be used on other phone substrates..."

    Well... I guess that flip side of that equation is that your code is Cocoa and Objective-C, which means that existing MAC developers have a leg up in porting versions of their applications to the iPhone. And that any iPhone application you create can have it's code moved over to the mothership OS relatively easily.

    How many Symbian applications can I write that, with a few changes here and there, run just fine under OS X?
  • Re:Android (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MidKnight ( 19766 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:46AM (#22675064)

    Let's take a look at a few reasons why Apple is currently doing pretty well in the smart phone market:

    • Exquisite User Interface. I'm sure you can do a lot with Android (haven't looked at the SDK myself yet, but am curious), but the fact is that Apple's UI is the result of a significant amount of R & D. They have a head start on anyone else attempting to do something similar.
    • iTunes Store/Music/Videos. With the iPhone, you get an iPod as well. Show me any other mobile device that has so clearly dominated its market in the last 10 years. If nothing else than a digital distribution channel, this is a huge advantage over any Android-based phone.
    • Visual Voicemail. Apple's requirement that their carriers tear apart their voicemail systems is a boon for the consumer. Some might even call it innovation :) While Android-based cell phones could mimic this, again Apple has a big head start.
    • Experience in the mobile hardware space. Apple is taking what they learned from their years of building iPods and leveraging it to build better phones. Using a strategy they are very familiar with, Apple controls the entire user experience. Android-based phones will be collaborations between companies, which may dilute the user experience. If you look at the desktop analogy, would you say a Windows Vista desktop is an "... Instant replacement ..." for a Mac?

    Look, I think Android will be a good platform, and that Google is going to put a lot of muscle behind it to limit Microsoft's reach in the mobile space and push their own interests instead. But saying "... Slap Android on a pure touchscreen phone ... [and you get an] ... Instant replacement for the iPhone ..." is a big, big stretch.

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:49AM (#22675086) Homepage Journal
    Given that we are discussing the presentation where Apple specifically announced "that the iPhone can accept pushed mail from an exchange server" with version 2.0 of the firmware, what's your point?
  • Re:Limitations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:06AM (#22675282)

    that requires applications to be installed exclusively through third-party servers (iTMS) that they have absolutely no control over.

    Would that be as bad as using an email solution that requires all sensitive email to be sent via third party servers in Canada?

    Would that be as crazy as using one operating system and browser from a SINGLE VENDOR and locking all your in-house apps, and even your web-apps, to that platform. Forget it. Medium-to-Large companies will NEVER go for this.
  • by Angostura ( 703910 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:15AM (#22675412)

    they can make Android a success all by themselves

    Not really. The success will come with the successful cooperation between Google, handset manufacturers and carriers.
  • Re:Limitations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lurch_mojoff ( 867210 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:26AM (#22675532)

    What about a 5-person company? What about a 1-person company?
    What about them? If you are a 1-person company you pay $99, get a vendor key, and write and deploy your app(s) to your hart's content (alternatively you can start selling those apps on the AppStore with the same key). If you are a 5-person (or 50,000-person for that matter) company you pay $299 and you are again set. How fucking hard is to comprehend this?
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:57AM (#22675932) Homepage Journal

    It looks like google wants this, and they can make Android a success all by themselves.

    Google couldn't make Google Video a success so they gave up and bought YouTube, dumping their paid service.

    Google does search pretty well. For now, anyway. With all the focus on these non-search related businesses, I wonder how much longer Google's dominance in search will continue. Anybody else notice that Google doesn't return as many relevant answers as they used to? I now spend a lot more time than I used to tweaking searches to get what I really want and not googletroll sites. The other businesses that Google gets involved with aren't all rousing successes, even when they're intrinsically related to searching, such as Google Maps. Mapquest still dominates that market, IIRC.

    Google has a lot of money, but that does not guarantee success. Microsoft has a lot of money too, and they can't even get their search off the ground.

    Finally, PRODUCT > !PRODUCT, almost every time.

  • Re:When? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nixoloco ( 675549 ) * on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:57AM (#22675934)

    apple seems hell bent on selling anything it can to developers (ever heard of FREE?)
    I disagree. They are giving the SDK away for FREE. The development tools (including IDE) are all FREE. The only thing the are charging for is a ONE time $99 registration fee in order to distribute applications through the iTunes App store. This is one time for all of your apps, not for each app. If you want to give a way your app for free in iTunes, you are free to charge nothing. If you want to charge for it, you have to give 30% to Apple. That doesn't sound like a bad deal to me since they are handling all of the credit card processing, hosting, bandwidth, storage and other costs, plus they are providing free marketing to a huge audience of interested customers.
  • by StCredZero ( 169093 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @12:31PM (#22676358)

    Right now Apple is proving the market for such a device, and then products like OpenMoko will come in and claim it, using the iPhone as R&D to prove concept but without encumbering themselves as Apple is doing.
    Is OpenMoko/Android going to eat the iPhone's lunch? It's all about the ECOSYSTEM. If Apple's ecosystem is open enough, then it will eat OpenMoko/Android's lunch. If Apple's ecosystem is too closed, then OpenMoko/Android is going to prevail. No one can beat market forces, though you can subvert them to your ends like Microsoft (Windows) and Apple (iPod/iTunes) has. If someone's stranglehold on the platform is too big a price to pay, you will enable the competitors.
  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @12:36PM (#22676430) Homepage
    I think you're missing the point. Sayin that "current product X will lose because potential future product Y will be much better" practically always assumes that current product X will not improve until future product Y appears. There are no Android phones available. Mobile 7 is not available. The iPhone is. When the other two are here, the iPhone will be in a different place, too, and if it turns out that absolutely open development is better (so far, this does not seem to be the case for mobile devices), Apple will be able to adapt.
  • Re:Android (Score:3, Insightful)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @12:53PM (#22676698) Homepage
    I agree that Apple has decided to cripple the iPhone to the point that even with the SDK, it is useless, especially for business.

    Why do you say this? I don't think the iPhone is "useless", in fact it's the most useful phone I've ever owned. As for the business perspective, I work for a "large company", and I carry a blackberry (the defacto business-oriented mobile device). I don't see anything that my blackberry does that the iPhone won't be able to do with the new sdk & exchange integration.

    Google has decided that developers cannot write powerful native binary applications for Android phone, which is important for high performance cryptographically secure applications. How is Apple any worse than Google which only allows interpreted programs, when since the launch of the iPhone, developers could always write Javascript interpreted programs, and now even some native ones as well through the iStore?

    Because Java and Javascript have nothing to do with each other except name? Java is not interpreted. Why is C++ a requirement for a secure application? Hasn't the last 20 years of buffer overflows taught us that, maybe, just perhaps, managed languages are actually more secure than unmanaged ones? MS support C++ apps on their phones because, up until pretty recently, MS were basically a C++ shop. I'm sure the .NET CLR will be ported to mobile soon, if it hasn't already.
  • by *weasel ( 174362 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @02:25PM (#22678142)
    Whether it's the iPhone or not is debatable; but that sort of handheld-computer-masquerading-as-a-phone is going to be bigger than the personal computer.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that within 10 years, that sort of handheld will be most people's personal computers. Laptops are already edging out desktops, as they're typically as powerful and as expensive for most users - and far more flexible. It won't be long before handhelds edge out laptops for the same reason. And the longer that single-threaded performance stays bottlenecked, the sooner handhelds will catch up.

    Given the recent advancements in mobile processing, headmounted displays, picoprojectors and brain-interface controllers -- i think your head would have to be pretty deep in the sand to not see this coming.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @05:42PM (#22681276)
    Imagine Microsoft forcing windows users to subscribe to MSN in order to connect to the internet. Imagine Microsoft forcing their users to purchase all software through Imagine if windows only ran on official Microsoft hardware? Would this strategy have been effective? Is this kind of practice sustainable?

    Apple has shown that, yes it is tenable.

    When you buy a Windows Mobile handheld today, how many other OS'es can you load on it? What about Palm? All these companies have shown what you claim is not tenable.

    2. Imagine the Apple/AT&T board room conference call where they debated how much was too much to carve out of developers revenues. They finally arrived at 30 percent. As one involved with software sales, this number is very high for a reseller, and ridiculously high considering the exclusivity Apple demands.

    You must not be operating at a very high level then as 30% to include distribution, hosting, update infrastructure, management, servers, scalability, reliability, and so on is very reasonable. Ask Symbian developers what they get (hint, the number starts with a five and is two digits!)

    Know the difference between prize financing and venture capital. Prize capital allows the winner to retain 100% of the company, while venture capital is giving your equity away in exchange for cash. You will find that most venture capitalists will be seeking a controlling stake of your company (>50%)

    Gee, if only you had read the actual details you could have avoided your whole rant. They get 30% out of your 70%. Now I personally would not go for that, but if you need a lot of capital that's better as you say than other VC approaches. They have re-thought a little the way to get cash out of startups to accommodate a new way of doing business that involves much less overhead for the developer.

    What about free software? If only official apple-authorize software sold through the apple software store is allowed to be installed on your device, then there leaves no room whatsoever for Free/Open Source software to exist on Apple's platform. Sorry GNUbies!

    I can port any GNu thing I like and sell it on the store. Of course lots of other people could as well, so I see little point once the first free versions appeal (and you know they will). I can also of course, as a developer, compile and deploy whatever I like to my phone.

    What if Apple/AT&T doesn't want you to erode the sales of their content streaming services? They just stamp your software as "Bandwidth hogging"

    Didn't you get the memo? Those apps, are limited to WiFi.

    It's time to seriously ask yourself, Are you, as a developer, willing to subjugate yourself in such a way?

    Is it nott time to ask yourself, when do you let the hate go? Because you got a lot of hate for Apple there and it's really clouding your judgement, and making you post things that make you look either insane or ignorant. Isn't that going to be pretty embarrassing if you ever go to look for a job? The internet is forever dude!

  • by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @08:34PM (#22683292) Journal

    Actually, the phone works just fine w/o 3G
    I'd be quite concerned if it didn't actually. Bit expensive for a phone though - they give away handsets if you just want to talk on the phone.

    Then, there's WiFi when you're at your home, office, friends' places or congenial coffee shop. Damn sight better'n 3G. All the data you want.
    psst - other mobiles have WiFi too you know. The point however is all the bandwidth in the world is utterly useless if the device in question can't talk the protocols you require, such as to use a VPN for example.

    And even when you rely on EDGE, it works just great for SMS, maps, weather and other nibbles of the 'net. Even email, as long as you don't expect it'll be faster than Blackberry, the supposed one to beat.
    ....and in say, Europe where 3G is everywhere and EDGE is relatively rare? Take the UK for example - O2 only has 30% EDGE coverage. That means that for example, if I had an iPhone and needed to use Google Maps and I was not in a major city, then I would be doing that over GSM while all around me others would be using 3G.

    So the quote suggests you've never actually USED one for non-toy use and been frustrated. iPhones function VERY well within the design parameters, better than many browsers, for example, on nominally faster nets.
    Difficult to USE something to do something it CANNOT do.

    And in answer to your comment title:


Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"