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No Denying the Consumerization of IT

While the iPhone is positioned as a consumer device, a recent IDC poll of U.S. professionals shopping for mobile devices suggests that this segment of the population is planning to use the device for both work and play.

Nearly 70 percent of those polled who already own, or plan to purchase an iPhone in the next 12 months, consider the device to be for both personal and business use. This is despite the fact that the iPhone is considered by some IT experts as not well-suited to the corporate environment.

Sixteen percent of respondents to this latest IDC poll plan to purchase an iPhone within the next 12 months, in addition to the 2 percent that already own one. Those polled intend to use the iPhone for various business tasks such as personal information management (contacts, calendar, etc.), corporate email, corporate Intranet, and customer relationship management (CRM).

Whether respondents to this poll own an iPhone or not, two-thirds of them currently use one mobile device for both personal and business use.

"The results of our poll suggest a preference for both personal and business usage among those that own or plan to purchase an iPhone in the next 12 months. This coincides with a growing trend in the proliferation and uptake of other converged mobile devices (those with a high level operating system and cellular connectivity) designed to meet both the business and consumer requirements of mobile workers," says Sean Ryan, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions.

"On the other hand, individuals intending to use the iPhone for business purposes are not considering corporate requirements for security and manageability of mobile devices in their decision," says Sean Ryan. "The use of unsanctioned devices, iPhone or otherwise, in the enterprise adds tremendous complexity for IT managers and executives trying to develop strategies around mobility while maintaining control and security over such devices. IT managers need to be aware of the implications of allowing iPhone access to corporate networks."

The results of this IDC study are based on a mini-poll designed by IDC and fielded in the U.S. by Market Insight Corporation on the consumer Web site www.MyProductAdvisor.com between September 7 and 19, 2007. The poll was embedded in the mobile phone section of the site and voluntarily answered by 351 mobile phone shoppers using the Web site for product recommendations. The average age of respondents was 43 years with 63 percent of respondents male and 37 percent female. All ages and all business sizes were sufficiently represented.

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