Goldman Sachs checks in with its cadre of IT executives and measures their appetite for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone: 17% of 100 execs surveyed (that’d be 17 execs, we guess) said they expected to support the iPhone 3G within the next year. That’s a “very strong number especially at this early stage,” says Goldman telecom analyst Jason Armstrong, who expects adoption rates to increase once the new iPhone and its enterprise-friendly software update launches on Friday.
It’s easy to turn that number around — 83% of IT execs still don’t plan on supporting the iPhone in the next year. And unless we’re missing something, “supporting” the iPhone — allowing it inside their corporate network — isn’t nearly the same as favouring it, recommending it, making bulk orders, or ditching Research In Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry gadgets.
But we think it’s a solid start for Apple: While taking some of the corporate smartphone market away from RIM is crucial long-term, we think it’s most important now for corporate IT to let employees who buy personal iPhones hook them up to their work email as a convenience. So “support” is good enough — in the short term, at least.
Armstrong’s other point: This is all good news for AT&T, Apple’s exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier, who could see subscriber and average-revenue-per-user metrics inch up next year because of increased iPhone adoption. (iPhone owners are required to buy $30/month, all-you-can-eat mobile Internet subscriptions; $45/month for corporate customers.) The downside, which AT&T has already warned Wall Street about: Subsidizing all those new iPhones will pinch its EPS and margins this year and next.
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