Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Apple .Me is BlackBerry Enterprise Server for the Rest of Us

The new Apple .me application has been dubbed by Apple "Exchange for the rest of us" as in Microsoft Exchange. Launching in mid July, it is aimed at users who have a Mac at home, use an iPhone and have a PC at work and want to sync calendar and contacts between those three platforms. But really it's also "Enterprise Server for the rest of us" as in BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Enterprise Server, if you don't know, is a piece of software that sits on top of an Exchange Server and manages BlackBerrys within the enterprise. It is the only way that you can get wireless sync of calendar and contacts between desktop machines and your BlackBerry.

But with .Me, finally without the use of either Exchange or Blackberry Enterprise Server, you're able to sync your calendar and contacts wirelessly. Not being able to do this with the previous iPhone seemed to me a painful omission. To be able to now accomplish this through a simple web-based system as the link between Macs, PCs and iPhones is a nail in the BlackBerry coffin.

BlackBerry has made a minimal attempt to create a small business (as in really small business) or home version of its Enterprise Server with a product called BlackBerry Unite! (LINK) but it still requires the use of a dedicated, always on desktop machine. And they've only launched it in Spain and Canada (though if you're really tricky you can download the software and apparently it does work on other carriers, outside those two countries). The idea that BlackBerry is requiring small business or home users to set up their own server for the cloud is crazy!

I love my BlackBerry and want to get a BlackBerry Bold but this wireless .Me option sorely tempts me. It should tempt any small business user as well.

"Apple will continue to penetrate the small and medium business market much more heavily and aggressively than it has been able to do so previously with this Exchange integration, but as far as larger enterprise, we still see RIM as the standard,” said Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities." Globeinvestor.com LINK

Sure RIM is the standard for now, but iPhone is going to be a highly effective wedge that will, I suspect, rapidly penetrate upwards, from the sole proprieter and small business user on up.

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