Friday, August 10, 2007

Garnter Group Hates the iPhone

I think of the "Gartner Group" as a bunch of grumpy old men in suits. Like a team of Andy Rooney's running around complaining about how stupid everything is today (without bothering to offer an insightful observation about how to improve things). Part of the reasoning behind my perception of the Gartner Group is based upon a video I was forced to put myself through about "how to become a technical trainer". Thankfully, the Gartner Group gave up the "Certified Technical Trainer" process to CompTIA many years ago. The materials that they produced (a book, and a video) were: extremely outdated, hosted by two of the most entertaining men of all time, and gave genuinely bad advice about training. Not to mention, that their entire course had nothing to do with the IT training industry that we knew then and now. My opinion of these old guys in suits has not changed much.

It was no surprise to me that the Gartner Group hated the new iPhone - even before it was released to the public. Having suffered with one of the worst designed phones (and operating systems, Windows Mobile) of all time, I was looking forward to learning about how the iPhone might work out for a business. I couldn't Google around all of Gartner's lousy claims about why the iPhone is a bad business move. So I am going to address them here in direct response to some comments made by one Ken Dulaney. I should note that Mr. Dulaney claims to have 36 years of experience. For those keeping track, he has been in the IT business since 1971. When did we start calling it the "IT Industry" exactly? I am not counting my years working with Apple IIe's and TRS-80 Color Computers. Maybe I should put that crap on my resume.

He says: Lack of support from major mobile device management suites and mobile security suites
I say: Tell me one good feature that you need, that the iPhone doesn't have? I don't want a "suite" of anything on my phone. I want it to do what a phone should do, and not require a load of software to be added. How security conscious does one need to be with a phone? If you can put a PIN number on it to lock it, you're good. Any more than that and the users will turn on you.

He says: Lack of support from major business mobile e-mail solution providers
I say: What is a "mobile email provider"? The iPhone synchronizes with any POP/SMTP or IMAP provider. Any mail product including Exchange server has that capability. And you can try to shoot me down on IMAP as being "insecure" but it's used an encrypted authentication mechanism for many years (IMAP4).

He says: The operating system platform isn't licensed to alternative hardware suppliers so there are no backup hardware suppliers
I say: That's just what I want. A "cheaper" knock-off iPhone that is manufactured by GPX. Can I order one of those from CDW and have it tomorrow? Get real.

He says: Feature deficiencies, such as no removable battery, could increase the need for support
I say: Yeah, I remember the last time I took the battery out of my phone. Wait, no I don't. Because there is no need to. Guess when I last replaced the battery in my iPod which I have owned for five years? Never.

He says: At this point, it's only available from one U.S. operator
I say: He makes a good point here. But let me tell you something. I live in a tiny town, and I have the worst cell phone coverage possible. I have used both Sprint (Embarq) and Verizon and they both suck. The few folks here who have AT&T coverage say that they never slip beneath two bars, where as I lose signal completely in those same areas. Perhaps Apple wanted to go with a provider that they felt delivered the best service, and not offer phones to providers who would make them look bad. I am going to award that point ... to Apple. Sorry Ken.

He Says: It's an unproven device from a vendor that's never built an enterprise-class phone or mobile device
I say: I have a UTStarcom phone manufactured by Intel, and with an Operating System from Microsoft. It's the worst gadget device I have ever owned to the point that I can hardly take a call on it. I want to track down all the engineers who had a part in making this phone and beat them with it. Which would hurt, because it's so big and heavy. Remember that company called "Apple" who made an MP3 player? And how did that compare with those experts who made the "Rio"? Anyone bought a "Zune" lately? I rest my case.

He says: A high price estimated at $500
I say: Hogwash. My phone was $400, it's only 2 months old, and I couldn't get ten dollars for it. Not to mention, it's all ready "unsupported" by the vendor. Perhaps we could agree that cell phones in general, cost too much.

He says: A clear statement from Apple that it's focused on consumer, not enterprise, business
I say: That was a mistake. Apple didn't expect business customers would come looking for one. They perhaps didn't survey what business customers think about their cell phones. I read a lot of angry comments from people who bought a "gadget phone" and can't make a simple phone call because of lock-ups, lost signals, prematurely dead batteries, etc. I am one of them.

He concludes with: IT "isn't prepared for that right now," Dulaney said. "Apple simply hasn't supplied the tools they need to consider handling this. I think those tools are at least six months out."
I say: Let's do this again in six months. Now stop spamming everyone with your opinions and get back to your old man club. I think they just put in a VHS tape of something starring Walter Matthau.

-Steve Ballantyne