Yesterday, Apple (AAPL) boss Steve Jobs unveiled some new iPhone features, including better support for corporate email, calendars, and contacts, running through Microsoft’s (MSFT) Exchange server software. Jobs chose Microsoft’s ActiveSync product over Research In Motion’s rival BlackBerry software, which Apple exec Phil Schiller mocked during his presentation as being convoluted and unreliable.
Citi’s analyst Richard Gardner and Jim Suva think otherwise. They argue that Apple is betting on the underdog. “While Apple claims superior reliability and security with ActiveSync, RIM’s overwhelming dominance within the enterprise push e-mail installed base today suggests a slow, uphill battle for iPhone in the enterprise.”
Fair enough. But Gardner and Suva also note that Apple’s likely to have “more immediate success” with small and mid-sized businesses and consumers — markets that are increasingly important to RIM. Last quarter, 34% of RIM’s subscribers were “non-enterprise,” up from 30% the quarter before. So while Apple might not raid RIM’s big-business and government deals overnight, it could cut off a vital source of growth.
Separately, the Citi guys are excited about the iPhone’s new software kit, which they think could make a great mobile gaming platform. Combine that with the imminent launch of a “3G” iPhone capable of connecting to faster wireless Internet service, and greater global iPhone availability, and Citi’s analysts are “increasingly comfortable” with Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhones this year. We are too.
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