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Hunger For Devices And Apps Complicates Wireless Procurements

The Voice Report (Vol. 31, No. 11)
Ben Fox & Kevin DiLallo

Telecom managers who shied away from innovative applications for fear that users would find them difficult to use now are faced with growing demand for user-friendly, cost-effective applications. And that means that you can no longer simply buy wireless devices and plans for your employees based solely on price, coverage and key contract terms.

Enterprises face more complex wireless purchasing decisions than ever before. Besides price, you must also consider limitations on the availability of devices and applications. Consider the current exclusivity of iPhone to AT&T and the initial exclusivity of Nexus One to T-Mobile and, crucially, what savings or additional costs those applications could drive to the bottom line.

This trend will only continue to grow, and decisions facing enterprise procurement departments will only become more complicated, particularly as individual end users’ demands for versatility and functionality run up against telecom managers’ interests in cost control and administrative simplicity.

For many years most corporate smartphones were BlackBerries, and the penetration of other options (like Window’s Mobile devices) was limited. Enterprises love BlackBerries because of their simplicity – RIM’s devices are about delivering mobile email, calendar and contact functions via a secure, manageable, and bandwidth/power-efficient solution that IT managers feel comfortable with. This core focus, coupled with intuitive user interfaces and few bells and whistles to distract and complicate the user experience, have given RIM a huge corporate market share.

But cracks are appearing in RIM’s dominance. They began with Apple’s iPhone, which demonstrated that bells and whistles could be user-friendly and intuitive. Suddenly, users that loved the BlackBerry because it does exactly (and only) what they thought they needed have been swept up in iPhone mania.

And Apple didn’t stop with one game changer –



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